While attending George Mason University, Tom Ivey first entered the world of auto repair, working for a local gas station, and really enjoyed it. After graduation from GMU, he went to Northern Virginia Community College to get his Associates Degree in Auto.

“It started with the feeling of accomplishment – taking something that is broken and making it work,” he said. “I got my first job in the area in a chain store, and then worked in a top-of-the-line foreign shop.”

On November 1, 1986 Tom purchased Tysons Auto Specialties and took the helm, navigating the business this past 25 years to become the premier automotive repair shop in the Vienna/Tysons/McLean area. It took a lot of hard work and a desire, above everything else, to build trust with his customers.

When he began, Tysons was in a small shop of 1800 square feet. It didn’t take long, however, for the business to grow. They expanded to a 3600 square foot shop in the early 90’s. The community was taking notice and by the late 1990’s he had achieved his original goal he had set for himself, but didn’t stop there.

Since 1997, the Washington Consumer Check Book has listed Tysons Auto Specialties as top rated for quality. Tom was also awarded Best of Fairfax 2008 – Best Mechanic.

Over the past 25 years, Tom has not only grown a business but also watched his family grow as well. Born in Nashville Tennessee, Tom moved to Georgia at 5 years old and then to New Jersey in 3rd grade, He arrived in Virginia during his 5th Grade year and has been here ever since.

He and his wife, Pam, have been married almost 30 years. Their son, Trip, is an industrial designer living in Los Angeles; Joe is a math teacher in the Loudon County School System; and Katy is a junior at George Mason University studying Community Health.

It’s not “all work and no play” for this entrepreneur. Tom has always loved the water and has owned a powerboat since he was eighteen. When asked what he does in his spare time, he said, “Weekends are a blast on the boat!” He also enjoys biking and running; in fact, he competed in an Iron Man Triathlon.

Tom notes that the way of business has changed over the years. “We have been blessed with computers,” he said. “Now, we save countless hours every week and our efficiency is awesome.”

Still, a personal touch with customers, not technology, is his most important value.

“Customer satisfaction is my top priority,” Tom stated. “The thing that gives me the most satisfaction in seeing happy people.”

Tom believes this begins with good communication, which means talking less and listening more. “Communication is key to success,” he said. “We can much better serve our customers if we fully understand their needs and concerns.”

Another area of change is in business development. “When I started,” he remarked, “a half page ad in the yellow pages is all you needed; now everything we do is through referrals and relationships.”

Tom is committed to an active schedule of networking activities and is especially active with Business Networking International.

“I have served in every leadership roll. I am now an ambassador to several chapters and help train many new members and leaders.”

Recently, Tom was the featured speaker for his BNI chapter. In addition to chapter members, the room was filled with satisfied and enthusiastic customers who were willing to get up early on a Tuesday morning to attend a breakfast in support of Tom and Tysons Auto.

Many of the endorsements he received that morning included stories of how much money someone saved. The message rang loud and clear that quality and value are things you will always find at Tysons Auto Specialties.

Quality and value – this is the way business is done at Tysons Auto Specialties. In another section of this month’s newsletter you’ll hear from a lot of people who, in their congratulations, highlight Tom’s commitment to provide them with a listening ear, quality service at a reasonable price.

So, Tom, do you have one major accomplishment in business that stands out among the rest? “Yes,” he replied. “Making it thru the first 5 years in business. Most fail in the first few years!”

He has done a lot more than make it through the first five years. He has built a thriving business that is known throughout Northern Virginia for excellence in service for vehicles and their customers.

Congratulations, Tom Ivey, on 25 years! We’re all looking forward with you to the next 25.

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