Every so often, our editorial staff selects one aftermarket industry professional to get to know a little better. Participants are asked to respond to a series of questions that can be answered in about the same amount of time you might spend chatting at the office coffee pot or waiting for an elevator. In this installment of “Five Minutes With,” we get to know Tom Dayton, parts manager for the Dave Warren Auto Group in Jamestown, New York. Dayton, the 2009 Counter Professional of the Year, is a monthly columnist for Counterman, a sister publication of aftermarketNews.
What was your first job in the industry?
I started working the counter at a retail parts chain to help pay for my own car repairs. That was 25 years ago, and I still love parts as well as wrenching for my family.
What do you like best about your current position?
I enjoy the relative freedom of being a manager. My current employer trusts my judgement and experience, so I am free to make many decisions without being micromanaged.
Did you initially intend to pursue a career in the aftermarket? If not, what drew you to the industry and what keeps you here?
It was originally just another job opportunity, but within a few months, I found it to be a good fit for my personality and technical interests. I love “the hunt,” especially for oddball parts.
What do you do when not at work?
I am usually in the home garage, keeping the family fleet going, but I also make time for trout fishing, and I read a LOT.
What one word best sums up your personality?
What are you currently reading?
I read a lot of historical nonfiction, often about science, technology or nature. I just finished a book about the development of the telegraph called “The Victorian Internet.”
If you could time-travel, to where and what in era would you want to visit?
I would go to Michigan or Ohio at the turn of the 20th century. The auto industry was just catching fire at that time; it would have been amazing to be a part of those innovations.
A man never steps into the same river twice, for it is not the same river, and he is not the same man.