Hands on the Wheel
Integrity Automotive Looks Back on 25-Plus Years In Carmel
Photographer / Michael Durr
Bob Waeiss knew the automotive industry was the right fit for him very early on in life. In fact, before he even finished high school he was studying cars in a formal setting and started gaining valuable experience working at a local auto service shop upon graduating.
“It’s kind of the typical story – guys will start working on bicycles, then the lawnmower and graduate to cars once you get big enough,” Waeiss says with a laugh. “That’s me.”
Waeiss grew up in Washington Township, and while attending North Central High School, he took classes at the J. Everett Light Career Center during his junior and senior years.
“I spent three hours a day for afternoon classes in auto shop,” Waeiss says. “That’s where I got my foundation, and while I was going there I got a job when I was 16 at the service station at the corner where North Central is. The owner there was my mentor, and I worked for him for probably 15 years.”
That mentor, Tom Perryman, served as a major inspiration for Waeiss to eventually launch his own business, Integrity Automotive on Rangeline Road in Carmel.
“Tom is a great guy and he taught me a lot,” Waeiss says. “He knew my girlfriends, knew my wife and watched my kids get born. A lot of the way I run my shop now, and my ethics, came from working under him.”
After high school, Waeiss planned to continue his vocational studies at Bob Jones University, but soon found the school was teaching skills he’d already acquired.
“J. Everett Light was so awesome, and Bob Jones was actually using the same textbook I used for my two years in high school,” Waeiss says. “I also had experience working with Tom, actually working in the bays for him. So I left school and came back to work for Tom.”
Waeiss subsequently worked for his father for several years in the wholesale floral business, but before long he felt the call to return to automobiles.
“When I went back to work at another auto shop, I met a guy, Todd Taylor, who had the very same mindset as me, and we decided to leave where we were and open our own shop,” Waeiss says.
Waeiss, his wife Linda, and Todd Taylor officially opened the doors to Integrity Automotive in 1994, and Waeiss and Linda co-own the Carmel business to this day.
Initially, Waeiss handled the front office at Integrity Automotive while Taylor worked in the shop, and the two occasionally swapped roles as circumstances warranted. After a few years they added Randy Badger, an auto technician, to the Integrity team, and have brought on as many as three technicians at a time through the years.
“My service advisor, J.R. Spoon, has been invaluable to the business,” Waeiss adds. “He assumed my role at the front desk and has been there for the past 10-plus years. He’s the honest, genuine guy that you want to talk to about your car.”
Integrity offers a full suite of auto services, from engine repair and brake service to fluid maintenance, suspension repair and tire service.
“We’re real strong on Asian and domestic cars, and we’re good on maintenance for European models like BMW, Mercedes, Audi and Volkswagen,” Weiss says. “Our market is very much the regular family cars.”
The Integrity staff strives to collectively educate itself on the latest technology featured in various vehicle makes and models.
“The driver-assist technology, with cameras and automatic braking, is our big challenge right now,” Waeiss says. “Collision avoidance is another big one. You’ve got to have the right equipment to handle that kind of stuff.”
Waeiss says one other difference in the way Integrity operates now, compared to back in the 1990s and early 2000s, is the way the company markets itself.
“It’s all social media now, and it’s so different today with the way my marketing has changed,” he says. “I have a person who handles all that because it’s so important now.”
Integrity has implemented a range of health and safety measures throughout the past few months in light of the coronavirus pandemic, including no-contact vehicle drop-off and pickup, as well as online scheduling.
Weiss says he’s always had an affinity for the Carmel area and is pleased to have been operating out of Carmel for the past 25 years.
“I always had friends from Carmel growing up and in high school and knew people from the auto shops, so I was connected to Carmel early on,” he says. “I’ve always been a northsider.”
Integrity Automotive is located at 40 South Rangeline Road in Carmel. For more information, call 317-573-0107 and visit them online at integrityautomotive.net.