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From tuning violins to tuning cars

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Ward – an Oregon native – has been working on cars for more than 30 years.


POSTED March 2, 2012 8:22 p.m.

NAME: Brent Ward

JOB: Mechanic and owner, Main Auto Repair

BORN: Portland, Oregon

HIGH SCHOOL: Oregon City High School

HIGH SCHOOL ACTIVITIES: Played the violin in the orchestra

WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM YOUR PARENTS: “Everything I know. Hard work is the main thing – the harder you work the more you make and the more you make the better off you are. They taught me integrity and the value of being honest.”

GREATEST THING TO EVER HAPPEN TO YOU: “Meeting my wife. We met through mutual friends.”

PET PEEVE: “People that lie. Dishonest people. Just come true.”

LAST NICE THING A STRANGER DID: “Probably let me in to turn left into traffic or something like that. I wish somebody would return my wallet that’s been missing since yesterday. I’ve been freaking out all day about it.”

FAVORITE DINING HAUNT (RESTAURANT) & MENU ITEM: “I’d have to say Yukimi and their Yukimi Special – you start off with salad and soup and then they grill up vegetables and filet mignon and lobster.”

BEST GIFT EVER RECEIVED: “My boys – Tyler (20) and Ryan (18). They’re both in college and doing well.”

IDEA OF A GREAT DAY: “Probably a day on the lake with my family – a day up at New Hogan Reservoir. I’d like to say riding my Harley but I sold it on Monday so I won’t be doing that anymore.”

CURRENT BOOK READING: “Just car-related stuff – trying to stay educated and on top of the newest things that are out there.”

FAVORITE PLACE TO GO IN MANTECA (HANGOUT): “There aren’t a whole lot of places here in town where you can do that. We typically just stay at home.”


FAVORITE BAND AND WHY? “I’m not much of a music guy. I’m not the kind of guy that has a million songs on my iPod.”

BIGGEST CHANGE IN MANTECA OVER PAST 10 YEARS: “I’d have to say crime. We’ve had some things stolen off of cars here at the shop, but we’ve had people break into the boat at home a couple of times before it was alarmed and things like that. It just seems to be getting worse over time.”

WHAT’S THE HARDEST THING ABOUT BEING A BUSINESS OWNER IN MANTECA? “There’s this perception that just because you’re a business owner you’re rich and it’s a hard one to overcome. Most of us are normal people just like everyone else that drive normal cars and live in normal houses. When we first opened up we had people that would come by for donations, and when I asked people to come back the following year they talked about how it would be a tax write-off. That’s true, but you lose money your first year so it doesn’t work that way. It’s just a hard perception to break.”

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST ABOUT BEING A BUSINESS OWNER IN MANTECA? “Getting to satisfy the needs of my customers and knowing that they’re happy when they leave. It’s great when they get to know you by name and when they keep coming back as customers.” 

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO COME TO WORK EVERYDAY? “I still enjoy it. I still enjoy turning a wrench and being under the hood. This isn’t a Bill Gates business – there is no barrel full of cash to be had. I do it because I love doing it. I left a more corporate position to start this job, and I told my wife that it would be hard when we first started but we would never have to look away from a customer – we could keep our heads held high knowing that we were honest and we did things the way they were supposed to be done. That’s what I love about doing this.”

WHEN DID YOU REALIZE THAT WORKING ON AND REPAIRING CARS COULD BECOME A CAREER FOR YOU? “Probably in high school. It’s just what I knew. I started out washing cars on the car lots that my mom owned, and before too long I was fixing them. I realized she wasn’t paying me enough so I had to go out and get a real job.”

BEST PIECE OF ADVICE EVER GIVEN TO YOU? “Be yourself. Be who you are and be true. Don’t try to be something that you’re not.”

WHAT WAS THE BEST PART OF THE LAST YEAR FOR YOU? “Watching the success of my children. They’re going to school and working hard and not getting in trouble. It’s a pleasure to watch.”

WHAT’S THE MOST STRESSFUL THING ABOUT BEING YOUR OWN BOSS? “Having to oversee everything. You have to be a person of many talents – there’s the mechanic side and the bookwork and having to make sure that the computers are working right. There’s a lot that goes into it.”

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR THE YOUTH OF THE COMMUNITY THAT MIGHT BE EMBARKING ON THEIR OWN JOURNEY TOWARDS BEING A MECHANIC OR STARTING A CAREER IN AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR? “Focus on the new things like hybrids and the computerized aspect of cars today. That’s where things are going in this business, and if you want to be successful as a mechanic you’re going to have to know those things. It isn’t like it was when I started doing this 30 years ago.”

FAVORITE GETAWAY: “Maui. It’s just so laid back – there’s a slower pace and nobody is ever in a rush.”

WHO DO YOU ADMIRE? “My father. He’s hardworking and honest and has a high level of integrity. He’s the person that showed me the way.”


WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE 10 YEARS FROM NOW? “Still doing the same thing – maybe pushing a cane, but still working here and doing what I love to do.”

WHAT MAKES YOU PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN? “Being able to have the freedoms we enjoy and the choices that come with that. I like the way that our country can unite when we have to – the way that it did after September 11. There’s something about the way our people care for each other, and how we can each have our own opinions. We’re never told what to do or how to do it.”

WHAT IS YOUR GOAL WHEN YOU WAKE UP IN THE MORNING? “To live another day. To make it a successful day – to make my customers happy, and to finish out strong.”

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IN MANTECA THAT IT CURRENTLY DOESN’T HAVE? “Something for the younger generation. The kids need something to do other than the bowling alley – they need entertainment and things to do other than just hanging around. That’s how you end up getting in trouble.”

— Jason Campbell
staff reporter

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