OWNER / LEAD AUTOMOTIVE TECHNICIIAN
My interest in cars was well established from a young age, growing up in the 80’s, I loved seeing the hotted up HQs and Ford Escorts (which is why I’ve already restored the Kingswood Ute and am currently working on a rotary powered MKll Escort!).
The early days of my trade began at U-Col in Palmerston North and doing work experience for Bruce Munro at Deeks Autos. After my pre-trade I almost joined the Army to be an automotive technician but instead scored an apprenticeship doing Automotive Air Conditioning and Auto Electrical which taught me a lot, but I missed the engines!
My exciting career break came when I earned a Mechanical Apprenticeship with Rodney Christensen from Roskila Autos in Palmerston North. I was in my element working with race cars, stock cars, off-roaders, performance street cars and Aussie and American muscle cars. I learnt a lot from Rodney and his engine building expertise and to this day Roskilda Autos is the only place I recommend for Dyno & Performance Tuning!
Next came an exciting life moment where I married Clare! After spending some time working in Fielding, Clare and I moved closer to family in Dannevirke ready to start our own family (we now have three gorgeous girls) and with the career aspiration of owning my own business firmly in my mind.
In 2008 I started managing Westlow Workshop for then owners Maitlinn and Jane Williams – a role I came into very green, but full of confidence and enthusiasm… I was a Workshop Manager!
In 2013 the opportunity came to take on apprentice Ray Frankcom. I have really enjoyed being able to pass on to Ray all the great knowledge, skills and standards my teachers in instilled in me. It has also been a great opportunity to invest back in to the trade I love and to hopefully make it an enjoyable career for someone else. Over the years we have also taken on high school students for work experience after school, and this has now progressed to Gateway Students – another way we are pleased to contribute to youth development and to give back to the trade.
In 2016 Clare and I were thrilled at the opportunity to purchase Westlow Workshop from Maitlinn and Jane – I had reached my goal of owning my own business! We are very appreciative to Maitlinn and Jane and to the wider customer community for their support. We have big plans for the future of the business and look forward to sharing the progress and development with our customers to whom we are very grateful!
Ray has been with Westlow Workshop since 2013 when he started his adult apprenticeship as a Mechanical Engineer.
He has a natural enthusiasm for vehicles of all kinds – starting with rotaries in his younger days, and now to his "sweet sweet Jeep Cherokee" off-roading 4WD.
Ray is mechanically capable and competent, he holds his WOF Authority and continues to take pride in maintaining a high standard and safety level on all the vehicles he checks. Ray also has his tow licence and can be seen doing after hours Roadside Assistance and Towing with the Westlow Workshop rigs.
Mike and Ray have a lot of fun working together and they get lots of customer comments on the great atmosphere in the workshop… when you are at work for 40 hours a week, you have got to enjoy your job and have fun!
OWNER / ADMINISTRATION
Clare is Mike’s wife and business partner who was born and raised in Dannevirke. You will see her smiley face in the office most days and her influence throughout the business is becoming evident.
She makes sure all the important jobs are taken care of with the admin and does a great job keeping our social media up to date. She manages to juggle running a household, organising three busy girls and keeping Mike in line all at the same time.
We would be truly lost without her. (If you need anything, chocolate is a good bribe!)