After leaving Sun Electric Corporation, Gene was encouraged by seven local body shops to form ATI, which he founded in 1982 with Barb.
Gene recalled, “Our philosophy was to listen to the customer and solve their problems, and that’s how ATI evolved into what it has become.
“Relationships and taking care of the customer are what helped us grow into the company we are today. Our family developed relationships with vendors and customers by solving their issues and making sure that ATI serviced all the equipment we sold. My mottos were: ‘We don’t go away after the sale,’ ‘We repair, service and install right the first time,’ and ‘Do it now!’”
Gene worked 12-to-14-hour days to get ATI off the ground and continued that routine until his retirement. He began by training technicians and owners on proper diagnosis and repair. Nearly 40 years ago, he and seven body shop owners started the St. Louis I-CAR Committee.
Gene insisted, “A key to ATI’s success is providing training and supporting the industry.”
In the early 1990s, Doug joined the company during a period of growth and contributed his skills in business management. In May 2018, Doug assumed ownership of the company while Gene continued to serve as an ambassador for ATI.
According to Gene, “Our family business succeeded because my wife, my son and I worked extremely well together to build ATI into a successful business in 2019. The secret of working together is having each of our offices away from each other. That allowed us to work on each other’s strengths.”
In 2018, Gene became a founder and president of Active Surveillance Patients International (ASPI), a 501c3 that empowers men with rising PSA, those recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and those on active surveillance.
Although Gene was diagnosed with prostate cancer 10 years ago, he shared, “I am in better health today due to my research and implementation of lifestyle changes, exercise, supplements, faith, willpower, a special regimen and positive attitude. I am living a great quality of life with cancer and without treatments.”
Although he is technically retired, Gene still plans to volunteer in the industry through organizations such as I-CAR, WAC, AASP and MV-TAP, which promotes transportation programs at area schools. He will also continue to serve as an ambassador between ATI and those organizations.
Gene said, “My company would not be here if it were not for our family management team, employees, our customers and our manufacturers. Leaders provide the sky where others soar.”