Since he was first hired in 1972 as a parts delivery driver, Rob Kersley hasn’t missed a single day of work.
That’s 50 years as the longest serving employee at Vernon Dodge Jeep, with record attendance.
“He had to be 17 or 18 years old. He has been here pretty much straight out of high school,” said Dan Loewen, general manager of the dealership.
Kersley, now 68, confirms, he was 17 and had just graduated from Vernon Secondary when he first started. A love of cars drew him to the job, and subsequently a line of purchases, upgrading from his first car, a hand-me-down from his dad, to a 1974 Duster 360 and his latest, a 2019 Challenger.
“We inherited him and he’s been with us ever since,” said Brian Johnston, owner of the former Sigalet Bros. dealership. “You don’t find in this day and age, 50-year employees who show up every day.”
While Kersley was celebrated with special recognition, a party and media attention, Johnston said the dealership is fortunate to have many great employees.
“These guys are so dedicated that when we have to do an inventory count, they would do it on New Year’s Eve. It’s almost unheard of these days.”
Johnston’s wife, Cobi, calls Kersley a unicorn.
She also suspects it’s the car addiction that keeps Kersley around.
Kersley, an avid golfer, curler and stamp collector, shrugs and nods in agreement.
He takes his work very seriously and has become known as an expert parts advisory.
“He’s probably the most knowledgeable Mopar mechanic in probably all of Western Canada,” said Loewen.
Customers have come into the store to specifically ask for Kersley, who has a vast knowledge of motors.
But, he said, a lot has changed since he first started 50 years ago.
“Back in the old days everything was taken apart and repaired, now it’s all replaced,” said Kersley, who plans on retiring next year.
Loewen isn’t looking forward to the day when they lose Kersley.
“You can’t put a value on priceless.”
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