By Tom Williams
It’s been said that when the Beast gets its claws into you, it doesn’t let go easily. It can consume your every waking breath and permeate your soul. And, before you know it, you wake up and three or four decades have come and gone. Some have escaped the Beast, but it seems many of them find their way back.
The Beast? The automotive business, of course. Whether we came to it by accident or were born into it, we all share a common bond. We love cars.
Chris Bowles is one of those guys who literally grew up in the business, the corporate side of the business. He is not a second-or third-generation shop owner who inherited or bought out the family shop. But he did follow his father’s lead. Bowles’ father was a career Firestone regional manager with over 31 years in the Middle Tennessee market. He also did work on the weekends in his home shop, and that is where Chris learned about engines and transmissions, among other things.
Bowles first worked at Firestone when he was 17. He started at the bottom and worked his way up the corporate ladder, eventually becoming a store manager, a position he held for over 22 years. After 25 years with Firestone, Chris decided it was time to try …