You might say that veteran automobile executive Chris Biehl went from one challenge to another in the early 2000s in Southern California.
After being cashed out of the cargo freight business in 2001, the energetic native of Chicago took time off lounging around the beaches of Southern California before jumping head-first into the car business.
Now 42, the sales manager for Centennial Buick GMC Mazda at 6501 Centennial not only has sold cars for 13 years but has also successfully battled multiple sclerosis for the past 12 years.
The personable Biehl shows no effects of the condition although he faces it every day.
He said he’s thankful for what he has and the business he has worked in for the past 13 years.
He recalled that day he lost feeling in his left leg 12 years ago as the multiple sclerosis surfaced, but he said he simply looks at the experience as a minor bump in the road.
“This year I was accepted into the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health for treatment,” Biehl said. “At times the challenge has been overwhelming, but I keep going on. Nobody would even know if I didn’t bring it up.”
He said the car business is therapeutic because while the work is intense, a person doesn’t have time to dwell on his or her misgivings.
With his wife, Stefani, and children Zac, 13, and Samantha, 7, he said he has his own support group that keeps inspiring him.
“That’s absolutely true,” Biehl said. “When you keep working, there’s no time to worry about your woes. I’m not alone in my challenges and I remind myself of that every day. My family is all-important.
“Hopefully, I can be an inspiration to others by refusing to give up.”
Biehl said he had no idea more than a decade ago that the car business would be so good to him.
He has sold his share of new and pre-owned vehicles, and he said he especially likes the direction taken by the new owners of Centennial Buick GMC Mazda.
“Those of us who work in the car business know first-hand about the everyday issues as it relates to a changing climate and the everyday pressures of the car business,” he said.
“However, if there is a stress level in the car business, it’s for owners like Tom Buis and Greg Burk, and we’re amazed at the job they have done since moving here from Phoenix to buy this dealership in March,” he said.
In the meantime, Biehl has plenty of cars to sell with three lines of vehicles that cover the market well.
“We have it all,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful dealership with a wide variety. There’s no reason to go anywhere else. Add in the fact that we have employee pricing and it’s the full package,” he said.
Buis, who has been in the car business a long time, praises Biehl.
“It’s inspirational to work with a person like Chris who is so motivated and caring about the people he works with,” Buis said. “He has a vast array of leadership skills.”