ROHNERT PARK – Most people don’t associate auto repair with environmental consciousness, but for Will Trbovich, owner of Acurit Auto Repair in Rohnert Park, a passion for sustaining the planet goes hand in hand with his overall business philosophy. “As a Green business, we believe in repairing and maintaining things rather than throwing them away,” he explains. “By servicing each vehicle with a mind to maximize its lifespan, we do our part to prevent waste.” Will’s environmental awareness also includes specializing in hybrid vehicles and taking part in AAA’s battery recycling program, but when he first became interested in auto repair at the age of 16, he was less concerned about his carbon footprint than about getting behind the wheel of his dream car.
Many mechanics have stories about their first loves, and Will’s is a classic rendition of “the one that got away.” “It was a ’49 Oldsmobile Coupe with a beautiful yellow paint job and a green top,” he remembers. “I had just bought it and was driving it to show off to my friends when it just stopped running.” After taking the bus home, Will immediately resold the car to his friend who was a mechanic. What happened next would alter the course of his life. “I brought my buddy to where the car was parked. He lifted the hood, told me to turn it over, popped off the distributor cap, made a quick adjustment and it started right up. As I watched him drive away with my car, I remember thinking to myself, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”
Will immediately set to pursuing his newfound goal in the most direct way he could—by seeking employment opportunities that would immerse him in the field. “I would take a job at any place that would teach me auto mechanics, even if it was just a gas station,” he says. “I told the owners upfront, ‘I’ll work for you, but you have to teach me how to repair cars or send me to school, because that’s what I want to do.’” Over the next several years, Will would receive a thorough industry education between the shop and the classroom before eventually opening Acurit Auto Repair in 1996.
Having spent the bulk of his life in an urban setting, Will says he has a special appreciation for the natural beauty, temperate weather and slower pace of Sonoma County. His love of the outdoors is evident in the way he spends his time outside of the shop. “My main hobby is golf—I play three or four times a week. I’m a private pilot as well, so I do a little flying on the weekends with friends and family.” Will also volunteers at the Bouverie Preserve in Glen Ellen, where he facilitates nature hikes for elementary school classes. “I love being out in nature and I love kids, so it’s a really good fit for me. We take them on three-hour hikes through the preserve and show them what things were like before humans moved in and paved everything.”
Will’s dedication to educating the younger generation is yet another offshoot of the emphasis on sustainability and environmental stewardship that marks his business practices. “There’s a quote from an old Indian chief that I read to the kids during the hikes which says, ‘We are the ones we have been waiting for,’” he shares. “It basically means it’s up to each of us as individuals to protect the environment. I think that really speaks to the way I try to live my life and run my business.”