A letter of thanks

We Just received this email from Randy Risley who was most recently the Saab NA Training & Brand Quality Manager. This is just another example of the great people we have and had working for Saab. Randy, I know your letter is a thank you to the dealers and customers alike but I want to extend a thank you to you as well for understanding the dealers and customers.

For years I have remained silent to the SU membership as I have anonymously enjoyed the many fine articles and informational blogs on this great site, now I would like to express my sincere thanks to all of the SU crew and post a letter of appreciation to all of the great Saab dealers in North America.

Thank you to All North American Dealers

It is with great appreciation and admiration that I post this message of gratitude for the tremendous efforts of so many Saab dealers and dedicated personnel in North America.  The brand loyalty of our talented service, parts, sales, administrative and leadership professionals, from our many dedicated dealers, grew Saab in its time of prosperity and kept Saab alive during the dark periods of transition and no production.  Even now, as Saab departs the new vehicle market place, there are many who are committed to supporting Saab customers into the future and sadly those who are loyal to the brand but financially unable to continue.

My Saab role over the years has provided me with the opportunity to meet and work with a network of dealer professionals, who were truly an extended family of Saab enthusiasts, dedicated to the brand and to the Saab customer with unstoppable passion. I have been privileged to have met many great Saab professionals during our product launch events and conventions and so it is with this message that I express my gratitude and best wishes to all of my wonderful Saab dealership friends with my confidence that your great talents will serve you well long into the future. I would like to extend a special thanks to the many talented Saab technicians who went far beyond the norm and shared in many hours of training, hard work and also much fun as we all worked together, my fond memories of our great training culture will live on forever.

To all of our customers who have supported Saab, I thank you for your brand loyalty and I hope you will take a moment to say thank you to your Saab technician and the rest of your dealer service and parts team the next time you see them or, even better, send them an e-mail of appreciation through their dealer site and let them know how much you appreciate their dedication to the Saab brand and their motivation to keep your Saab in top shape for years to come.

Best wishes to all for a bright 2012

Randy Risley – (most recently) Saab NA Training & Brand Quality Manager

17 thoughts on “A letter of thanks”

  1. It was great to have such a working relationship with Randy. Our beginning together started back 2001 with my first role in the Technician Advisory Team, headed by Randy. This allowed 1 tech from 4 different regions of the U.S. to be a liaison between the technician base and Saab, to convey all things training or warranty related. He opened the door for techs to meet with many of the staff within SCUSA . We would meet at the Atlanta HQ for meetings and have numerous conference calls in between.

    A very unique role we played was helping plan and run the Master Technician Challenge. An annual event that was the envy of technicians of other car brands, as they had no such event for their technicians. My first was held at Daytona Speedway. Then on to the General Motors Desert Proving Grounds in Phoenix. Due to fiscal restraint the last year, we cut back on participation, and went on a cruise. We still had a driving event though, although it was conducted using RC cars that were fashioned from the color models that everybody has noticed in the dealerships. Very unique times indeed.

    When the time came for SCNA to begin their role in Detroit, the Tech. Advisory Team seemed to be the last remaining group left that was dissolved. Randy was instrumental in introducing a couple of us to the training staff with GM’s training arm Raytheon, so we were to help GM proof their Saab courses for future classes. It was a honor to say we were helping to write the courses before they went to the techs.

    He was a true champion for the Saab technicians, and a great guy.

    Jeff Mox
    Fox Saab
    Grand Rapids, Mi.

    • Thank you Jeff for a most eloquent trip down memory lane, we certainly had a great organization that allowed us to the latitude to develop unique and effective programs. Quite often the talents of automotive technicians go unrecognized and as a result the profession is sometimes undervalued by customers and the potential pool of future members. Saab recognized the net worth of our loyal technicians and worked to better the industry as well as our own cadre. I had the distinct pleasure of working with Master Technicians such as yourself, who could diagnose challenging technical cases by relying on their knowledge of automotive network systems, electronics, mechanics, hydraulics, physics plus more and then repair the vehicle with the surgical finesse that results from years of experience. On top of their technical talents, many of our technicians are graduates of Technical, Associate or Bachelors programs and choose to share their talents in the promotion of the profession. It is with my respect for our technicians, and technicians everywhere, that I wrote my letter of appreciation in hopes that I could communicate your value to all Saab customers everywhere. – Randy

  2. I also had contact and worked with Randy during the Swedish-automobile ownership era. It was such a relief working with people in US (over the net), true Saab people, that had not a single trace of GM managment mentality.It was fun, lots of fun and i learned a lot.

    Randy, i hope you can join the Saab adventure one more time just like the rest of us if there is yet antoher Saab re-start!
    We were getting better and better everyday in our independent organisation, step by step.

    See you!

    • Pontus
      Great to hear from you and thank you for your kind comments, there is so much that goes on to build, market, sell, deliver and service great automobiles and every person is a key link in the chain. You have talent in IT systems that goes beyond my comprehension and a work ethic that reflected your passion for the brand. I know when I sent you messages at 5pm my time it was 11pm your time but yet you always responded with a solution with never a comment about the hour. That’s what made up the Saab spirit and why we all want to see Saab return!

  3. Saab tech were the envy of all other car brands and I feel we still are. The traing recieved was second to none. Randy was instrumental in establishing relationships between techs and Saab management, bonds to this day still exist and will continue to exist for years to come.
    I posted something earlier of how saab dealer personnel were attached to our customers on a different level than other brands, this bond carried on though the ranks of the manufactorer. Randy was an important part of this. I’m not to familiar with the instructors that were out west but in the northeast with Dave Cap, Jay Flagg and John Moss training was delivered on another level. When we left the traing center you were in much better understanding of the product and more than capable of repairing to customer expectations. I’ve had training from other car lines that could not compete with standard that saab delivered, and expected from us when we completed the class. Randy again was instrumental in the quality and delivery of coarse content
    With tech competitions and conventions, there was always a friendly rivalry amongst techs but always a sharing of information and fixes. This sharing would go all the way to the field reps, John Anderson( at that time), Dave Shurk, and Yorgan. All men of chachactor that would call techs if they had ever seen the problem that they be facing in the field. Show me another car company where the management would call on a tech for help, again being the small company we were it was all about the customer. Fix the car, not matter what, nobody was to good to ask for help from anybody. No matter your position in the company your ego never took control.
    I hope someday to work with all these people again. I don’t think it will be Saab as we know it ever again, buy maybe it will be a car that we can all fall in love with again. Funny how this car tugged at our heart strings, brought management and tech alike together as family with a common goal. Good luck Randy, John, Dave and anybody else that we have had the distinct pleasure of working with.

    Peter Doyle
    Arroway Saab
    Mt Kisco NY
    [email protected]

    • Peter
      Your recollection of great times makes me long for a past that cannot return and yearn for a future that we must strive to build. The team of training instructors, developers, technical field and technical operations experts that made up the Saab family worked cohesively with our extended family of technicians and dealer service team professionals. Working together with this fine group of passionate Saab technophiles was nothing short of awesome. I hope you, and all of our Saab techs, find a way to continue working on Saabs for many years to come.

  4. Hey Randy –

    Thanks for helping my dealer fix my seat on my ’07 9-3… I know you gave them some guidance on that repair – excellent work.

    Additionally I had attended several Saab training classes with Mike Race who was working out of the GM training center in the Chicago area prior to him going back to Saab. Those were some of the best classes I have been to over my career. Mikes knowledge of air metering and fuel adaptation, and his ability to teach the concepts really helped me understand that material in a different way and has helped my teaching. Hope he lands on his feet and can resume his teaching somewhere.

    Ted Schafer
    Assistant Professor, Automotive Technology
    GM ASEP Coordinator
    General Motors World Class Technician
    Cuyahoga Community College
    [email protected]

    • Hi Ted
      Coming from a professional in the training world, I am sure that Mike appreciates your praise and I totally share your endorsement; Hey!…anybody looking for a talented automotive trainer in the Chicago area? Thank you for your support of Saab Training in the GM ASEP program, helping to grow and develop “new to the industry” technicians. Your motives are worthy and your mission is critical to the future of our industry. – Randy

  5. Hi Randy, been a while. I was a Saab top master tech. 1997 and 98. Then a member of the Saab technician advisory team 99 and 2000. Great memories, particularly of the tech conventions that you initiated. Fond memories of all the great training provided by John Moss, Dave Kap and Jay Flagge. I continued working at Saab dealers until April 2008 when Storm’s, Southampton ceased to be a Saab dealer. Now I run Automedic LI., NY dedicated to keeping all the Long Island Saab’s running like new. There are many independent Saab technicians out here whom are dedicated to Saab cars. My concern, how will we be able to obtain security access needed to add Saab 9-3 modules?

    Cheers, Peter Robson.

    • Hi Peter
      Thanks for your reflection of some great times and lots of great people in our past, I enjoyed working with you and our social events as well. You pose a question of valid concern and although it is outside of my control I believe there is an intention to continue distribution of Saab Technical information (WIS) and Module Access Software (TIS2Web) through paid subscriptions at the Technical Web Site http://saabtechinfo.com
      Cheers to you Peter – Randy

  6. The real shame of this whole thing is the most recent North American leadership was really made up of some of Saab’s greatest people throughout the last 20 – 30 years. People that had returned to Saab for the true love of the brand. People that wanted to be part of the “New Saab”. Had they had the direction and resources from Sweden, this was the team that had the best ability to create a prosperous Saab brand in NA. Tim Colbeck was without question the right guy.
    Part of North America’s failures were a direct result of lack of cooperation from senior leadership in Sweden i.e. pricing, marketing and content decisions. I hate to say it but it’s true. Out of fairness, I realize there were other forces at work, as well.

    If someone pulls Saab out of liquidation, I’m not sure how easily it’s going to be to construct a leadership team as everyone else will have surely moved on out of necessity. Who will train these new people? It’s not going to magically happen as some people seem to think. These are the types of hurdles that will likely make a resurrection of the brand impossible. At least in the NA market.

    • Spot on, it’s all about the people, the product, the program and the market, deep pockets to fill the gap until product is in place and the market is established is also very helpful!

  7. Randy,

    Always a pleasure to listen, watch and see you in the backround. I’m sure all roads will cross in the future. I’m certainly glad for what you were able to do with Saab, for Saab and for New Salem Saab.

    May your future be bright!

    Darryl Carl

    • Thanks Darryl
      I know all of your customers thought you were the best and you have always lived the Saab passion as an enthusiast as well as a dealer. You have endured great burden and you deserve great fortune, I wish you the very best as the next chapter unfolds. – Randy

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