Cox Automotive
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Overachiever Awards: 'The Road Warrior' Ryan Ziegler

Dec. 13, 2023
Managing 30 technicians is never easy. Driving 1,000 miles a week to help and support each one is an added challenge for Ryan Ziegler, a mobile technician leader at Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services. Because he enjoys it so much, the job never feels like work.

Overachievers drive everyone else to try a little harder and pay a little bit more attention to detail. In an industry where mistakes can cost lives, they are nothing short of indispensable. That’s why we created the Fleet Maintenance Overachiever Awards as a recognition program to remind everyone of that fact and to honor everyone in the industry who does their job the right way because it’s the right thing to do.

After putting out a call for nominations, we received dozens of submissions, which were reviewed by our judging panel. Ryan Ziegler was a clear standout to the judges due to his dedication and leadership. Here's his story: 

Ryan Ziegler | “The Road Warrior”
Mobile Technician Leader | Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services

Four days a week Ryan Ziegler bounces around between his 30 techs, performing usual supervisory work such as quality inspections, arranging and assigning work, or walking them through a diagnosis. The catch is the Cox Automotive business provides mobile maintenance, so he racks up 1,000 miles a week doing it. His territory spans Arlington, Washington—a city north of Seattle—down Interstate 5 to Salem, Oregon. Ziegler lives in Kelso, Washington, about halfway between the two, though he rarely has time to sleep there. He says he starts his day around 4:30 a.m. and sometimes finishes up around 8 p.m.

Helping those techs makes the days go by quicker and feel less like work for Ziegler, who was initially hired two years ago at Dickinson Fleet Services prior to Cox acquiring the company.

“I love helping the guys learn, work through their issues, and see them succeed at the end of the day,” the 30-year-old said. “It’s really hard to get tired of that.”

Hearing what he does day to day assisting his colleagues does sound exhausting, though. Sometimes this means driving over to help one tech put a bulky cab door back on or teaching them welding techniques. Other times it’s helping a novice mobile tech replace a trailer’s drum brake assembly.

“He didn’t understand how a brake chamber worked fully (because he had mostly worked on buses that used air disc or hydraulic brakes), so we got out there, pulled the brake chamber off, pulled it all apart together, and I talked him through how it works and the theory behind it,” said Ziegler, who spent his junior and senior years of high school in a diesel program before graduating from WyoTech in 2013. He was also quick to point out where you should avoid placing your finger to prevent injuries to your hand.

It’s all necessary for Ziegler, who strives to lead by example and get his hands dirty just as much as the techs he supervises, though he makes sure to let them take lead on the repair.

“Coming from a technician background, Ryan is great at training and is always willing to roll up his sleeves and lend a helping hand,” said his supervisor, who added that Ziegler “is a first-in, last-out leader who sets a stellar example daily.”

Ziegler’s prior experience also includes eight years at a Ryder dealership, where he noted a technician would work on several makes and models every day, including a great deal of aftertreatment work. This helps when showing his roving staff how to service a Freightliner’s emissions system, an Isuzu box truck’s liftgate, or a Hyundai Translead trailer.

Throughout the (very long) workday, he’ll also offer tips and tricks from his smart phone, too. The strategy has worked out great for Cox’s bottom line. Since Ziegler took the leadership role in April managing the mobile techs for Portland and Seattle, his team had the highest year-over-year revenue growth in the company and has doubled in headcount. In addition, he drove efficiencies Sky Needle high.

“We can look at spreadsheets all day, but hearing from the customer that we got them out of a bind—that to me is a successful day,” Ziegler concluded.

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