Frank Leutz, COO of Desert Car Care of Chandler.
In 1969, Frank Leutz was born in Frankfurt, Germany. With a short stint in Deutschland, a green card and a Lufthansa flight later, he began his journey in America landing in Washington Heights, NYC (just N of Harlem.)
At 7-years old he met and started a very special relationship with a junior high school Music teacher, Mr. Rosenthal, who believed in this ghetto kid, and inspired him to chose an affair with a trombone.
With multiple auditions and performances with the NYC All City Orchestras as first position, he made multiple appearances at Carnegie Hall with Alice Tully and Avery Fisher. He auditioned and was accepted to The High School of Music and Art’s original “Fame” School (now Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of the Arts).
While briefly studying under Steve Turre (Saturday Night Live) and Terry Nigrelli, (Julliard trombonist), he had the privilege of performing with Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Dave Valentine, Branford Marsalis and Lionel Hampton, as a jazz\salsa musician with the McDonalds Tri State Jazz band.
Without the grades, college music scholarships escaped him, so at age 17, Frank enlisted in the Navy and eventually traveled the world engaging many diverse cultures such as Bahrain, Guatemala, Panama, Italy, Spain, Sicily, Philippines, Thailand, and both the Suez and Panama canals.
After his release from the Navy, he started dating his now current beautiful wife of 26-years, and moved to Phoenix. Upon his arrival, he became an apprentice at his father-in-law’s business as an entry level mechanic while attending the Academy of Radio Broadcasting to become an on- air DJ, to bring in additional income. He quickly found out the pay in radio was minimum wage, so he took on gigs as a DJ performing weddings, corporate functions and an event for the Wrigley family (they make awesome gum, but were horrible tippers).
After several years working as an apprentice mechanic, he was hired by Lou Grubb Chevrolet as a used car technician and acquired Chevrolet factory training, learning the cutting-edge technology of the modern day automotive technician.
While working as an automotive technician, he attained EMT Certification and took Fire Science courses with eventual employment at Good Samaritan Hospital for 36-hour weekend shifts as an EKG tech in a trauma room, coupled with 50 hours as an automotive technician. His EMT and hospital work led to a try out for the Phoenix Fire Department, who at the time were hiring 7.5 people out of 6,000 applicants, and made it through the first interview phase, roughly the Top 12.
In 1996, Frank decided to venture out and start his first automotive shop, Performance Car Care, with $4,000 and a used hoist, floor jack and lots of naive determination. Six years later, he profited through the sale of that business, and started Desert Car Care of Chandler. The year was 2004.
Desert Car Care of Chandler was born from the passion and spirit of an individual that believed in people, and the community it served. Through the years it would become a top 3% national gross revenue shop, with award-winning service and numerous professional affiliations such as Automotive Service Association, Better Business Bureau Ethics Award Nominee and in 2016 Chandler Chamber Commerce Small Business of the Year.
In 2009, Desert Car Care eventually expanded to a second location in Gilbert and a third in 2012. Those two have since been sold and once again, all the focus is on the Chandler location.
Frank’s passion is to educate the public on automotive service issues. He does this through media interviews sharing automotive stories for the public, hosts car care clinics for first time drivers, women, Girl and Boy Scout Troops and the general community. He provides mentoring, and has hired several high-school students from the automotive department at the East Valley Institute of Technology (EVIT), donates time and funds to specific charities in the community and partners with entities such as MADD and the Chandler Police Department.
From 2013 – mid 2017, Frank served as President of the Phoenix Chapter of the Automotive Service Association (ASA) and made significant contributions in the way of increased membership, workshops and registration for the state convention. As Past-President, he continues to serve the Chapter as Treasurer. His local contributions to ASA have been recognized by the National ASA board in Washington D.C., leading to his election in 2016 to serve as a member of the Mechanical Division Operations Committee, the voice in D.C. for shop owners.
Pairing his passion for automotive education and former training in radio broadcasting, Frank created and is the co-host of the ‘Wrench Nation Car Radio Talk Show.’ In 2018, the show expanded to a two-hour format airing each Wednesday on 88.7FM The Pulse at EVIT in Mesa, with the show’s podcasts repurposed on iTunes.
Frank states, “My journey will never be complete, as there are many discoveries and ventures of helping the human spirit, and sharing the great bounties of life’s experiences with many, and always remembering that, “Success Is Not Final, Failure Not Fatal...It Is the Courage That Counts.”