CONVERSATION WITH CHRIS DAWSON
March 22, 2021
We were able to have a conversation with Chris Dawson, President of Maaco, to learn more about him, thoughts on the business and the future of Maaco.
What did you do before joining Driven Brands?
I worked for 20 plus years in the restaurant industry holding various roles including Director of Business Development, Vice President of Operations, and a multi-unit franchise owner of Cici’s Pizza locations in Columbia, South Carolina.
What are the different roles you have held with Driven Brands?
I joined Driven Brands three years ago as Vice President of Training and Strategic Operations for Take 5 Oil Change. I also helped the business enter franchising, as they were all corporately owned when I joined. After a year and a half, I moved to oversee Vice President of Training for Driven Brands, then moved to Senior Vice President of Human Resources before joining Maaco.
What is it like being President of Maaco?
As a former franchise owner, I understand how impactful leaders can be when they help your business do well. Thanks to all my experiences, I have grown to realize I have a deep passion for helping others succeed. Assembling a group of people and laying out a strategy to see how we can be most effective in helping our network, has been energizing. Being the President of Maaco allows me this opportunity each day to positively affect someone’s business, truly making this the job of a lifetime.
What is your favorite thing about Maaco?
The people. Regardless of the business or brand, the people I work with and the people I work for have always been my favorite part of my job. At Maaco, I work alongside people who are eager to do better, eager to learn, take pride in their work, brainstorm with each other and innovate. This includes our franchise family. At our core, we have great people in our Maaco team and that’s why we have been able to achieve greatness.
What is the most challenging part of your role?
Having so many different businesses and people you want to reach out to and not having the amount of time necessary to do that. When I joined Maaco, I knew right off the bat I couldn’t do everything, so I spent time assembling the right leadership team. Essentially an extension of me, I rely heavily on them to lead initiatives that will help our Maaco franchisees.
What are you looking forward to most for Maaco?
I’m looking forward to resolving or removing the obstacles that are holding us back from being great. This past year has sparked change forcing us to be more forward-thinking rather than dwelling on the past. Although it was challenging, it was also rewarding as we were able to build a new foundation for future success. I’m excited to continue this momentum and get to a point where we are all aligned in discussing strategy for growth.
How would you define the industry right now?
Our industry is ripe with opportunity. We have seen a resurgence in our retail segment this past year, helping us through the challenges brought on by the pandemic. We are also starting to see more fleet and trade work come back as we enhance our operations, telling me we are headed in the right direction.
Where do you think the industry is going?
As cars advance, it requires more expertise to do repairs right. Whether it’s a paint job or dent repair, the tools and education needed is changing. Our Maaco network has almost 50 years of industry experience and we have gone through generational changes. We are well-positioned to adapt to the latest advancements and the industry keeps giving us ample room to be successful.
What is one thing you want Maaco franchisees to know?
Our success is dependent on franchisee success. Therefore, my motivation every day is for our Maaco franchisees to do well and it is why I work so hard to remove any obstacle that prevents their business from future prosperity.
How do you like to spend your free time?
After spending the majority of my days in meetings, on calls or on my computer, I like to spend as much of my free time as I can, outdoors. Any activity or sport you could name, if it’s outdoors or active, I am up for it. I also love spending time with my wife Erica and my three daughters, Lily (age 12), Ella (age 16) and Chloe (age 20) who are my world. We all enjoy the outdoors and spend as much time as possible on the lake swimming, boating, or just hanging out.