Greg Marchand, MBA '09Organizational and Environmental Sustainability
Greg Marchand Takes AUNE Green MBA Degree on the Road with Automotive Aftermarket Training, Inc.
As a student in the inaugural Green MBA cohort at Antioch University New England (AUNE), Greg Marchand developed a business plan for a company that would offer technical training seminars to independent auto repair shops. Today, he's president of that company, Automotive Aftermarket Training, Inc. (ATT), which operates throughout the Northeast.
"My mission is to increase major public acceptance of alternative-fuel vehicles," he said. "I hope to create a situation where the public recognizes ATT-certified repair shops. It helps the general public."
Greg trains independent technicians from Maine to Virginia, and west to Ohio, focusing on hybrids. Seminars include hybrid basics, hybrid diagnostics, engine and network system diagnosis, and customer retention. He also teaches conventional technology and trains instructors.
"Close to sixty percent of new-car buyers don't return to the dealership for service," he said. "At the same time, dealership networks are now using the aftermarket for warranty work. By training independent service technicians, we're making them more viable as repair facilities for alternative vehicles. People are more apt to purchase an alternative-fuel vehicle if it can be serviced locally."
"There are very few people doing what we do," he said. "There's training available through vendors, but they're always trying to sell you something. There isn't a consistent training model. The information they use is good, but it's way too technical for the aftermarket."
A Car Guy by Chance
Greg, who grew up in Johnson, Vermont, never had an interest in automotives until he fell into the industry by chance in the late '80s.
"Right after high school, I was cooking in a restaurant when a waitress's husband asked me to come work at his repair shop," he said. "Six months later, I took over the shop when he moved to Chicago."
In 1992, he earned an associate's degree in automotive technology from Vermont Technical College and subsequently landed a job teaching Toyota automotives at Great Bay Community College in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A year later, he accepted a position with Toyota Motor Sales, USA, as a field technician in Mansfield, Massachusetts, eventually becoming a service trainer specialist and environmental coordinator for the Boston area.
That's what he was doing when he happened to read about AUNE's new Green MBA program in an organizational newsletter. Enthusiastic but lacking a bachelor's degree, he touted the program to others until discovering that he could apply for acceptance through the university's alternative admissions process. In time, he not only was accepted into the program's inaugural cohort, but also designed and developed his current business plan during his MBA studies.
Capitalizing on Experience
"In the MBA program, I had to make a clear decision," he said. "Do I move into a different field or capitalize on twenty years in the automotive business? I had a network, lots of knowledge and a real skill set. How could I turn it into something I like and can make a difference with?"
In the end, he found a way to combine his passion for the environment with his expertise in automotive technology. "I was very lucky that my AUNE professors helped me turn my assignments into my business," he said.
Greg, now 39, graduated from AUNE in 2009. After successfully attracting investors and establishing his website (www.intelligentmechanic.com), he officially resigned from Toyota in mid-March 2010 to launch his new company.
April 2010 seminars included two separate workshops in Portsmouth and Manchester, New Hampshire, each accommodating nearly three dozen independent service technicians. In the near future, he plans to provide virtual classroom training.
Greg credits AUNE for his success.
"AUNE gave me the opportunity of a lifetime," he said. "It was the perfect fit. I'll always be indebted to AUNE."