John Poulet is a 33-year veteran of the auto repair industry and manager of Menlo Park Chevron, a Diamond Certified company. He can be reached at (650) 212-5657 or by email.

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John Poulet: Out of the Hangar, Into the Garage

  • John Poulet is a 33-year veteran of the auto repair industry and manager of Menlo Park Chevron.

John Poulet: Out of the Hangar, Into the Garage
“I served four years in the Marine Corps as an aircraft mechanic... it was really fun to work on helicopters and F-4 Phantoms.”

MENLO PARK − While most auto repair technicians spend their entire lives working on cars, John Poulet’s career was preceded by a stint performing engine maintenance on a much larger scale. “I served four years in the Marine Corps as an aircraft mechanic,” he explains. “It was really fun to work on helicopters and F-4 Phantoms.” Following his military discharge, John hoped to employ his specialized expertise in the public sphere, but after encountering several obstacles, he decided to transition into a related field. “None of the major airlines were hiring at the time, and my license wasn’t even valid for civilian use, so I started working on cars. It came fairly easily after previously dealing with aircraft.”

Today, as service manager of Menlo Park Chevron, John says he appreciates the challenges (and rewards) of solving difficult problems. “I like it when a car comes in that’s been bounced between a few different shops—not only because it poses a fun challenge, but also because it makes the customer that much happier when we’re able to resolve the issue.” John also enjoys working alongside his son, Jimmy, who manages the shop’s front desk. “It’s great to have Jimmy here. Our customers know him, so if I’m out of the shop for any reason, they feel comfortable leaving their cars with him.”

Born in San Carlos to French immigrant parents, John now lives in Fremont with his wife, Grace, and daughter, Jolie. After 30 years of working at Menlo Park Chevron, he cites his continued appreciation for the shop’s local clientele. “The folks in this area are down-to-earth, quality people,” he says. “They also understand the value of investing in the well-being of their vehicles, which makes it an even greater pleasure to serve them.”

Outside of work, John engages in a variety of personal hobbies and interests. “I enjoy going fishing up at the Delta, as well as spots like Lake Oroville and Bullards Bar Reservoir,” he says. “I’m also a big Formula 1 fan.” Additionally, John is an avid supporter of his daughter’s sports involvement. “Jolie is a member of a local traveling soccer team, so I spend a lot of time cheering for her on the sidelines.”

In his professional career, John espouses the importance of putting one’s self in the customer’s shoes. “I try to treat my customers how I’d want to be treated by my plumber, dentist or any other professional whose industry I’m unfamiliar with,” he explains. “Understanding what it’s like to be on the customer’s end of the transaction helps me keep things in perspective when it comes to service.”

When asked the first thing he’d do if he could retire tomorrow, John says he’d get to work knocking things off his bucket list. “There are just so many things I’d love to do. In particular, I’d love to go to France, both to see where my parents came from and visit some of my relatives there.”

Ask me anything!
Q: Are you fluent in any foreign languages?

A: I speak French fairly well—not as well as I’d like, but well enough to understand most of a conversation or watch a French film.

Q: What’s your favorite racing team?

A: Infiniti Red Bull Racing.

Q: Are you a dog person or a cat person?

A: Dog person—I have a Cocker Spaniel named Chester.

Q: What’s your favorite local restaurant?

A: Carpaccio in Menlo Park.

Q: Who makes you laugh?

A: Chris Rock and Ron White.

Q: What was your first car?

A: A 1968 Renault 10—basically the French version of a Volkswagen Beetle.

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