SMITHVILLE — A major fan of cars, being an owner of 10 himself, Josh Wilshusen enjoys helping people in his role as a retail parts specialist at O’Reilly Auto Parts in Smithville, 1099 S. U.S. Highway 169.
“I was selling vehicles before and it’s just not the same atmosphere,” Wilshusen said. “This seems like a more helpful atmosphere for the customers, whereas most customers have their guard up when they go to buy a car.”
Working in retail, Wilshusen said he sees a lot of classic cars. He also enjoys driving his own variety, consisting of a 1992 first generation Dodge Ram 3500 truck, a Jeep and eight others he interchanges throughout the week.
What would surprise people most to learn about your job?
“That you actually have the opportunity to help people, more so than you might think,” he said. “Maybe someone is from out of town, they might be visiting (Smithville Lake). You know they aren’t in their comfort zone, they come here and we give them an opportunity to feel comfortable.”
Would a 10-year-old you be surprised that you are in this position or field?
“Nope,” he answered. “When I was a 10-year-old, I was buying parts from this store.”
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
“Reading codes on a hot day,” the specialist said. “It’s really not all that challenging. There’s not really much difficulty in the skill set you need to work here.”
What do you like the best about this field or job in particular?
“I would say the workplace environment. I always get to talk about cars and a lot of people have classic cars that they bring in here,” he said. “A gentleman that was in here earlier drives a 1967 Chevelle with a 454. There have been some GTOs that come in too.”
Outside of the workplace, when you meet somebody new, what tips you off that they also work in auto parts?
“They are probably covered in grease,” Wilshusen said.
What is the most common question you get about what you do?
“What kind of oil filter do I need?” he answered. His response is always the same: “What are you driving?”
What advice would you give someone starting a job similar to yours?
“Earn your money so you can save and invest it. Stay out of debt,” he said. “If you can’t afford to pay for it in cash, you can’t afford it.”