For Haz Mutawe, love was in the air on Valentine’s Day in 2020…but in a different way than you’d think.
February 14 was the day he had his first interview at Garber Chevrolet Highland in Indiana.
“I fell in love with Garber that day,” he laughed.
The feeling was mutual – though it required some patience on Haz’s end.
“I got the job offer to be the General Sales Manager in June,” Haz said. “It was a good five months of going back and forth, doing several interviews. It was worth it.”
As the current General Sales Manager in Highland, Haz is proof that Garber’s intentional hiring process pays off by remaining dedicated to placing the right people in the right roles.
Haz is firing on all cylinders, with no signs of slowing down.
From Food to Cars
The restaurant business is what pushed Haz to discover the automotive industry.
After all, the two worlds are in the same service-oriented universe. Both are centered on helping people get what they want and need.
But for Haz, who worked in Philadelphia between 2008 and 2011, the go-go-go attitude of the restaurant industry burned him out. He needed to make a change.
“The hours in the restaurant business are tough,” he said. “But I was not even thinking about the car business until I had the opportunity to work with a friend of the family who worked in the car business.”
At his friend’s encouragement, Haz jumped ship from the restaurant world. In July 2011, he left Philly and started his journey in the automotive industry as a car sales manager in Chicago.
“It was an opportunity to at least get into something that I could learn,” he said. “It opened my eyes to a different world where you can approach people, try to help people. I felt that my honesty and personality could make me successful.”
He was right.
Let’s fast forward to 2019.
Haz was in the midst of a huge personal life change: he got married. Priorities shifted. He decided maybe it was time for a professional change, too.
“I got married in 2019, and I wanted to be closer to my family and my wife’s family,” he said. “The Chicago commute was hard for me.”
A mutual friend connected Haz and Craig Blacklidge, General Manager at Garber Chevrolet Highland in Indiana. The two started the interview process. Craig got to know Haz’s charismatic and honest personality.
Then Haz’s life changed once again.
“Craig took me and my wife out and we were having lunch,” he said. “He offered me the job in front of my wife. There are no words for how I felt. I was proud of myself and happy that my career and family were going to go to the next level with Garber.”
Since joining the Garber team, Haz’s life has changed for the better.
“My wife told me that my personality has changed from my previous job to now; I’m now more relaxed,” he said. “I have a smile on my face all the time now.”
Haz said his happiness is due to Garber’s culture.
“It is hard to find a place where you enjoy what you do and look forward to going to that job,” he said. “Every day I wake up and I look forward to going to my job. I enjoy what I do and I want to be here all the time.”
Haz’s job with Garber hasn’t just changed his life. He helps change other people’s lives, too.
“When you sell cars, you help people,” he said. “At Garber, the customer is not just a number. They are people who have lives and they need to go from A to B and they have jobs. If someone needs help getting a vehicle so they can do their job and support their family, I’m willing to help.”
He said he often witnesses great stories of positive impact, all because of a car.
“I had a family that came to me on the Fourth of July, and I sold the mom and the daughter a car,” he explained. “The daughter was so happy because she was able to get a job after getting a car.”
He said Garber puts the customer first and sees firsthand how that mindset can really help a person.
“A month ago, I had a customer who hugged me in front of his son because he could not believe I got the deal done for him,” he said. “He told me, ‘I went to multiple dealers before and no one was giving me a chance.’ But we did. It makes me happy to have people get the vehicles they like and make their dreams come true.”
Haz said Garber specifically provides the growth opportunities – but most importantly, the support – for those wishing to start a new career or move up in the automotive world.
“Working in the car business, you don’t need a degree,” he said. “When I did my interview, no one asked me if I had a degree or went to college. The auto industry opens the doors for a lot of people, regardless of background or experience.”
Garber team members are cared for and cared about, he added.
“If you have any personal issues and you go to your supervisor or boss, they make sure they support you and they take care of you,” he said. “Every time I go to Craig, he’s been a great support and mentor. I ask him about professional things and I ask him about things in my personal life. I do the same with those on my team. We all support each other.”
At the end of the day, people are the priority at Garber.
“The Garber group is a group that makes sure the message is sent that we care about our employees and our customers,” he said. “
First concert? Gypsy King in the 90s
First car? A German vehicle called an Opel
Favorite meal? A Middle Eastern dish called Upside Down. It is potatoes and eggplant and you fry them and then you put chicken and rice on it, and when you want to serve them, you flip it upside down.
Three words to describe your personality? Honest, friendly, caring
What is an item on your bucket list? Other than making my family happy, I’d like to take care of my parents and wife and help my kids get a great education.