Welcome back to Meetin’ Wheaton Wednesdays! This week’s edition will feature two more good people from the Wheaton Honda staff. You may not realize it, but this week’s team is one you may already be familiar with if you are a regular visitor to our website. This week we are proud to present our Inventory Photographer Aadil Dharamsi and our Internet Marketing Manager Melina Kawecki! As always, we will ask our marketing team some questions to try to get to know them a little better. So without further adieu, let’s get to know Aadil and Melina.
When did you come to start working at Wheaton Honda and Why?
Aadil: I first started working at Wheaton Honda 3 years ago. I started working here because I knew Melina and I knew she was looking for a photographer.
Melina: I started working for the Wheatons in 2006 as a part-time evening receptionist at our old South Park Pontiac Buick GMC Cadillac location on Whyte Avenue. I eventually moved over to Don Wheaton’s as a full-time receptionist, inventory coordinator, and a multitude of other positions. Then I left for a couple years and later came back, worked in a few more positions, and eventually became our internet marketing manager in 2011.
The reasoning for hiring a photographer kind of comes back to the fact that we have a lot attendant to take care of our car showroom so that every car that a customer comes to see is beautifully cleaned and on display. It may be parked at such an angle and maybe it has balloons, or signage, or something like that. So, why would we not want to show that to our customers online and give them the same experience that they would have if they came into the store? So I hired Aadil to be our inventory photographer so we could give our customers online a good experience as well.
What kind of duties does your position entail?
Aadil: I guess my duties entail coordinating between the lot staff and the used and new car managers to make sure all of their vehicle inventory is shot and on the website in a timely manner. I also do a lot of promotional stuff for Melina. Some of my favorite things that I do at the dealership are the promo things where I get to, say, participate in Meetin’ Wheaton and go around and take pictures of the staff every week. Even just special things like when a new vehicle comes in and I get to drive it around and take pictures of it at fun locations.
Melina: Yes, and then when we run contests and stuff like that on social media, sometimes Aadil gets to help with that as well. A couple years ago we did a contest called Civic in the City for the brand new release of what I believe was the 2014 Civic, and he took it to all kinds of really fun locations around the city of Edmonton and shot it. So that kind of evolved from there when we started putting those kind of pictures on the website regularly instead of just for social media.
For my job, I work between our three dealerships, which include Don Wheaton Chevrolet Buick GMC Cadillac, Wheaton Honda, and now Wheaton Toyota on the Trail. I work at all three stores, but for Wheaton Honda I take care of our website and online presence. So that includes coordinating with sales managers for specials and making sure they are reflected on the website and also making sure specials for parts and service are reflecting correctly online.
There’s also coordinating headshot days for new staff and adding new staff to the website. I also manage our social media feeds, which means if you are ever interacting with Wheaton Honda on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus you are talking to me. Occasionally I’ll help coordinate other stuff like print ads, a little bit of radio, and sometimes events, but mostly I work with the digital side of things at the Honda store.
What do you think is the best thing about working at Wheaton Honda?
Aadil: It’s nice to be able to drive around in fun new cars. It’s interesting to meet some of the customers and some of the different salesmen and the sales managers. It’s also fun to be able to do photography on a daily basis which is something that I love to do.
Melina: My favourite thing about working at Wheaton Honda absolutely has to do with the people. I get to do this job at a couple different stores and I have to say that it is absolutely amazing coming to the Honda store, and you can just tell that everyone likes to be there. Not that the people in the other stores don’t like being there, but it’s just a contagious type of attitude at the Honda store.
You walk in and you feel like everyone there is having a good time and you should want to be there so that you can have a good time with them. Specifically with the Honda store, I really like that I get time to work with Aadil because we’ve been friends for a very long time, probably like 10 or 11 years. So it’s nice to be able to come to work and see not just friends that I’ve made at the store, but long term friends too. So I like that.
Aadil: It’s definitely a fun atmosphere for sure. It’s fun to be around everyone. Like all the salesmen are always having a good time, the managers are always joking around with everyone, so it’s a very fun and open atmosphere. It never feels too much like work.
Melina: Yeah and everything still gets done, which is the cool thing. So you don’t feel like “hey, we’re just having a good time and not actually doing anything”. We’re having a fun time doing what we’re here to do, which is cool. It doesn’t make work feel like work.
What is your favorite thing about working together?
Aadil: Oh, Melina and I? It’s great! Like she said before, we go back a long time. When I first started doing photography, I was doing photography OF her and now I’m doing photography WITH her.
Melina: I think what’s cool about working with Aadil is that I can just trust him. I can ask him to do something and I know it will get done. There’s never any half-way. No matter how I describe something, it’s like he’s in my brain and he knows exactly what I’m looking for and I get delivered something that is just perfect.
Aadil: You can’t see me right now, but I’m smiling from ear to ear.
Melina: I also think it’s cool that since we’ve been friends for a really long time, even though there are sometimes gaps of time where I don’t see him a whole lot, I feel like I don’t miss anything, like I always know what’s going on.
Aadil: One of my favorite things is Thursday when I get to see Melina for a half hour before your shift ends and mine starts.
Melina: Yes, which is fun. Except I’m not there on Thursdays anymore.
Aadil: Oh, what day now?
Melina: I’m here on Wednesdays now. So maybe you should switch your shift to Wednesdays.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Aadil: Well, I spend a lot of time with my new baby and my girlfriend Ellen. We try to get out as much as possible, you know, sometimes it’s hard with the new baby, but we do what we can. I also like to do wedding and event photography, for example I shot Melina’s wedding a couple months ago. Sometimes I like to do play sports, like in the winter pickup hockey. I’m not very good, but it’s still fun. And I do soccer on Wednesday nights. I’m also going back to school, I’m studying psychology. I really like to do the research and kind of learn how to help people and ways to apply my fun psych knowledge.
Aadil: Just recently I actually went to Ontario to present my research at an international conference. So that was great. It gave us a lot of great ideas on how to extend my current research in the future. And I might actually get published!
Melina: So, basically everyone in the world found out that Aadil is a huge smartypants. For me, I like to spend time with my new husband and our Golden Retriever. We like to go to the gym and do stuff around the house like gardening. Also, watching cool movies and going to comic expos. So I do all the nerdy stuff, which is fun. The events where I go and buy swords and, just the nerdiest stuff that I can fill my house with. I also like to plan events, which is great because Aadil likes to take pictures of events…
Melina: So we’ve done that a few times. Also, I plan food truck events here in Edmonton (with a team of other people) called “What the Truck?!”
What is your favorite Honda vehicle that you would recommend to a customer?
Aadil: Well, I mean everyone said it already, but the Honda CR-V is just great. It’s great on gas, there’s lots of room in it, it’s so versatile, and I can’t wait for a raise so I can buy one!
Aadil: It will be great for a small family, like mine, who wants to put the car seat in back and fit the stroller and the rest of the stuff. My little hatchback is starting to burst at the seams, so to speak.
Melina: I really, really like the Honda Pilot. I like both the old one and the redesign is quite nice as well. I like that it has 3 row seating, even though I would never use 3 row seating. I like that if you don’t use the back row, you have this huge amount of space. You could like, house a small village in the back of the Pilot. Or for me, I could fit my 80 pound Golden Retriever in there. So, you’ve got all the room for your stuff, you’ve got all the room for your people. It’s just a super cool vehicle. When I get into it I feel like I am piloting a spaceship or something.
Why do you think that customers should come to Wheaton Honda to purchase a Honda or for Honda service?
Aadil: Just the quality of service from both the sales staff and the service staff. I know them personally and I know that they do what they can to make sure the customer gets what they need before they leave.
Melina: I think it’s a cool experience because working in automotive, you meet a lot of people, and then you come somewhere like Wheaton Honda and you can tell that these people do put absolutely everything that they have into the work that they do.
I have no hesitation ever referring customers to come to the Honda store, because I know that when they get there they’ll be greeted with a smile and they’ll be greeted by 4 or 5 people, not just 1 or 2. They won’t feel pressured, they’ll just come in and they’re going to hang out and feel like someone is helping them, instead of just trying to sell them a car.
I also really like the service department and especially the detail department. The detail department at Wheaton Honda is not something we’ve touched on in Meetin’ Wheaton Wednesdays before, but they really do an incredible job. I had my car in there yesterday, and my car looks better than it did the day I got it. They just do such a good job. Also, taking the shuttle back and forth was super, super easy. They’re very accommodating and everything runs like clockwork. I really can’t say enough good things about the Honda store.
There you have it! Aadil and Melina, two longtime friends who work hard to bring you great updated information right here on our website and who love what they do. The next time you are checking out the new Honda inventory or Honda model information on the website, or if you are just connecting with Wheaton Honda on social media, you now know who is behind the magic. We hope you had a great time getting to know Aadil and Melina.
Next week, we’ll have another fun-filled edition of Meetin’ Wheaton Wednesdays for you. We look forward to seeing you then!