Irvine BMW Service Director Eddie Kist has a calm way of stating the simple truth: If you can’t adapt to changes around you, you’ll never survive. That motto has served him well.
As Irvine BMW’s Service Director, Kist is responsible for running an efficient Service Department. He operates the department at maximum production, controls costs, builds loyal clientele, maintains good employee relationships, sets and obtains sales objectives and maintains service records.
He also plans, organizes, leads and controls the flow of service work throughout the service department while ensuring quality repairs to the customer.
The German-born Kist began in the automobile industry in 1958 with Mercedes-Benz and came to the United States in 1962. He has been with Irvine BMW since 1984 (when he first started it was Saddleback BMW, then after it became Irvine BMW the Shelly Automotive Group purchased the dealership).
“There have obviously been a lot of changes with the economy and many places are in survival mode,” Kist said. “Everything has changed, but I’ve stayed and I think the reason I’ve been there so long is you have to be able to accept change and deal with it or you won’t survive.”
What sets Irvine BMW’s Service Department apart appears to be the example set from the top-down. Kist believes in mentoring and training his staff, and developing the all-around person to personally know their skills and assets. That comes from his belief that the automobile industry isn’t really about cars.
“We’re in the people business, so everything is about that,” Kist explained. “It’s not the car business, it’s the people business – and you better be able to work with people. With all my years and all the changes I’ve seen, what I know is this: I believe in honesty. As long as you do an honest job, you will survive. You have to be sincere, not act sincere.”
When not directing the service activities at Irvine BMW, Kist enjoys walking and playing golf.