Brooks Diesel Service
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Okie Dokie: Sooner State shop owner keeps pace with changing industry

June 1, 2023
After stints as a farmhand and oilfield technician, Cody Brooks found his calling fixing trucks in southern Oklahoma, where his expansion strategy includes doing just a little better every day.

Cody Brooks has always been an adaptable guy, a trait that’s served him well throughout life and on his shop floor. Today, Brooks owns and operates Brooks Diesel Service, an Ada, Oklahoma shop that handles truck and trailer repairs, DPF cleaning, hydraulic hose building, battery cable assembly, flywheel resurfacing, and other on-site services.

Throughout his career, Brooks has depended on his know-how and agility to move his business forward, all while keeping a mindset of consistent improvement to stay ahead in commercial vehicle maintenance.

“The world is changing constantly so we have to stay nimble and try to make the changes we see as necessary to stay relevant into the future,” Brooks commented. “It's easy to see the results of companies that failed to do so 20 to 30 years ago that were commonplace but are now no longer around.”

Luckily, pivoting when necessary comes naturally to Brooks. He grew up on a farm in western Oklahoma, where he learned to adapt to any challenge.

“With farming you pretty much become a jack of all trades and learn to figure out and fix nearly anything,” Brooks recalled.

This skill set served him well as he ventured out as a one-man mobile maintenance operation in 2017. Working out of a service truck, he kept spare parts at home and a storage facility. Now Brooks is part of the Power Heavy Duty Network.

“Cody has worked hard to position Brooks Diesel Service as a respectable business founded on quality and service–traits that align well with our network of distributors,” said Jim Pennig, vice president of business development, VIPAR Heavy Duty Family of Companies. “We look forward to helping support their growth with parts from the industry’s leading manufacturers available through the Power Heavy Duty Network.”

Brooks started his journey at a vocational tech program in his high school, pairing his coursework with a summer job in a local car repair shop. Afterwards, he attended Oklahoma City Community College, earning his associates in automotive technology. Upon graduation, Brooks first became an oilfield technician, where he was introduced to the many moving parts of commercial vehicles. Leaving the oilfields behind, he took a job at a dealership to continue training and learning, until he was ready to open his own service truck.

Brooks expanded to a single-bay shop in 2018 and hired more mechanics in 2019. Such rapid growth was uncharted terrain for Brooks, as he essentially doubled his enterprise and transitioned from a technician to a technician and manager by hiring a single person.

“It took me some time to figure out what I was looking for in employees,” Brooks explained. “Early on, you look for people that are well rounded so they can tackle anything. But as you grow, you can start to compartmentalize the positions more so you are looking for people that are specialized in certain areas you need or have the desire to become a specialist.”

When it comes to growing both his staff and his business, Brooks tries to avoid stagnation at all costs. 

“I have a personal saying of ‘I want to be 1 or 2% better each day than I was the day before,’” Brooks noted. “I try to pass that on to the business and my employees as well. So, we are always trying to grow and improve as well as avoiding being stagnant or complacent.”

For Brooks, that mindset led him to joining Power Heavy Duty’s distribution network in April, as well as a goal of expanding the offerings available in his shop.

“Long-term, I do plan to add an alignment machine to be able to do alignments in house, but that will likely come after we are able to move into a larger facility,” Brooks commented. “We are pretty maxed out on space right now.”

But until he can do that, Brooks has been able to be creative and adjust his business within the confines available. To do so, Brooks credits their purchase of two American Forge & Foundry’s 10-ton air lift jacks, No. 3400A, as one of their best, as the equipment grants them greater versatility in the shop.

“We bought a pair for suspension work but we use them for so much more, such as lifting a truck high enough to get transmissions out from under a truck without having to pull fuel tanks or battery boxes,” Brooks explained. “They do well for trailer work and we often use them for many other purposes as well.”

About the Author

Alex Keenan

Alex Keenan is an Associate Editor for Fleet Maintenance magazine. She has written on a variety of topics for the past several years and recently joined the transportation industry, reviewing content covering technician challenges and breaking industry news. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. 

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