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Last updated: Mon. Dec. 24, 2012 - 10:32 am EDT

Fort Wayne Jiffy Lube team about more than just oil changes in national competition

River City Raiders to compete for $10K grand prize in Miami

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It took a lot more than speedy oil changes for the employees at a local Jiffy Lube to secure a spot as one of the top Jiffy Lube service centers in North America.

Also known as the “River City Raiders,” the employees are competing in the J-Team All Stars Championship with six other regional Jiffy Lube service centers. The final two employee teams, or “J-Teams,” will compete for a grand prize of $10,000 on March 5 in Miami.

J-Team All Stars is a yearly internal competition among nearly 1,500 service centers across the United States and Canada, emphasizing teamwork, technical expertise and delivery of customer service. Located at 5312 South Bend Drive, the Raiders include Bill Hines, upper bay technician; Kayley Hengl, courtesy technician; Missy Grabach, customer service advisor; Lora Otto, team leader; and John Bixler, lower bay technician.

This is the third consecutive year the Raiders have advanced to regionals in the competition, which started four years ago. They won the 2011 competition. Last year's prize money went toward bills and vacation time, but Chris Christensen, district manager of Jiffy Lube in Indiana, didn't have details for how it would be used if the Raiders win in March.

Jiffy Lube franchisee Steve Sanner said, “We take training very seriously, and this J-team is ready to showcase the skills they offer Fort Wayne-area drivers daily on a national stage. A competition like this really generates pride … and helps grow our people through work.”

At this point in the competition, every small detail counts, and missing one second on an oil change could cost the championship.

Christensen said training “starts the first day someone is hired …we train on every car, every day.” One training routine is to prep car windows with dry-erase markers and wash them with eyes closed to get a feel for the glass and edges on each car. Despite the pressure to get every procedure done perfectly, Christensen said he believes the Raiders “have what it takes to get to Miami.”

Jiffy Lube has more than 2,000 franchised service centers in North America and services more than 22 million customers annually, according to a media release. Based in Houston, Jiffy Lube is a wholly owned, indirect subsidiary of Shell Oil Co. and helped pioneer the first drive-through service bay in 1979.

All service center employees are required to participate in Jiffy Lube University, a training program that received an award for its curriculum from the American Council on Education and the American Society for Training & Development.

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