MEET OUR TEAM!
 
Michelle Nichols: President

Background:  From Atlanta, Ga and a twice graduate of Georgia Tech in engineering, she has followed her passion for camping, traveling and getting lost in VWs around the the country.  Always an athlete, Michelle has competed as an elite rower, amatuer cyclist, and coached CrossFit.  

 
How did you come to this line of work?  "Austin and I have been VW lovers since our earliest years together and stranded ourselves on many dates in our Vanagons.  Having spent 10 years working in healthcare and 3 years staying home with our young kids, I am excited to re-enter the workforce at such an exciting company."

 

Austin Nichols: Engineering & Products 

Background:  Also a GT graduate, and spent years chasing "the dream" trying to be an Olympic Rower.  Vanagon ownership goes back to being a 15 years old kid doing engine and transmission swaps on my back in Georgia heat with "Pops."  #syncro4life  

Hopes and dreams?  I want to carry on improving and engineering these great platforms (Vanagons/Buses/etc.).  I also want to have a lot of fun so expect more fun videos and marketing!

 

Chad Baird: T3 Technician Leader

"We get things done!"

Background: Chad has over 40 years experience as a technician and leader of teams.  He has fixed and rebuilt almost everything you can imagine in that time frame and now has his sights set on bringing Vanagons and Buses back to life.  

Free time spent doing...  "I spend my time working harder on the weekend on my property!  I really enjoy plumbing, carpentry, and using my backhoe instead of relaxing.  (my wife made me say this.)"

  

George Silvester: Engine (and everything) Builder 

"I used to have a nice bug, so nice everyone tried to steal it."

Background: George has been at Small Car for 24 years and is a problem solver in the purest form.  He was part of the original SVX conversion team and he brings his father's work ethic to our team.  

Favorite Things: George mountain bikes, rides dirt bikes, hunts, shoots in 3D competitions and loves going shopping.

 

Jeff Meyer: Electrical Lead

"Fear has its uses, cowardice has none" -Gandhi

Background: Jeff has been at Small Car for 13 years and has been instrumental in our R&D pipeline and commercialization of new engine conversions.  Jeff attended Clover Park Technical College with a focus on electrical systems because he destroyed his hand!  

How Jeff unwinds: Jeff enjoys exploring many different varieties of Scotch Whiskeys with his wife and he is very much a family man.  He coaches soccer and enjoys being involved in youth sports as his kids grow up.  

 

Tim Zerkel: Purchasing Lead 

Tim Z. Fun Pic

"I love getting out on or near the water, and the PNW is the perfect place for it."

Background:  Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, my professional background is in the natural foods business, where I learned the industry in and out, from team leadership to pricing, product production, distribution, and lots in-between.  I recently earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology at UW Tacoma and am excited to be part of the Small Car Team.  In my spare time I like to get outside with my dogs and discover new spots around and outside of town. 

What do you know about VW Vans?  "I cut my teeth on Volkswagens a long time ago when some friends and I took a ’79 bus from Seattle to Los Angeles…  Long story short, we ended up stopping a few times (involuntarily) on the way down, until we eventually landed in San Francisco.  Despite the bumpy ride, we had a great time and met some helpful travelers that bonded with us over the bus.  I’m looking forward to helping the dynamic team at Small Car provide our amazing customers with the reliability and peace of mind to continue making memories with these legendary vehicles." 

 

Ryan Driscoll: Sales and Service 

 

Coming soon!

 

Danny Haley: Engineering & Products


 

Background: Danny has a background in design and manufacturing engineering. He graduated with a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan. He moved to the PNW after college and fell in love with the landscape, outdoor recreation opportunities, and Volkswagens.

 

Kristopher Taft: Sustainability Product Manager

 

Prior Planning & Preparation Prevents Poor Performance.

Background: Kristopher enjoys backcountry tele skiing, mountain/road biking, camping, and backpacking with his family when he is not working. Spending the last 20 years in education as an outdoor educator, 4th and 5th grade teacher, coach, mentor, and a professional development presenter - Kristopher has shifted gears and joined Small Car as our Sustainabilty Product Manager!

How did you land at SmallCar? I’ve been an admirer of Small Car from afar for many years. I’ve had dozens of vans in the last thirty years and one of my earliest memories was driving down the highway standing between the two front seats of a 1970 bus. What seatbelts?! After converting my ‘87 Syncro Westy and striking up a relationship with Austin and Michelle I just had to join the team to help preserve and sustain these beautiful vehicles for generations to come. -Kristopher Taft

 

Bridget Babcock: Supply Chain



Background: Growing up in Wisconsin Bridget never saw herself living in a big city. Spending all her free time on the ice figure skating, camping and swimming, milking cows on the family’s homestead – Washington has been nothing less than an adventure for her!  Finishing her bachelor’s degree as a non-traditional student, Bridget joined Small Car with an education in Business Management and professional experience as an Operations Manager.

How would your husband describe you? “Relentless and creative. He would say that I am always on the go and packing our schedule full! Keeping our kids active in sports, our young lab pup tired out, and always planning the next event with our friends, I like to keep us on the move and embracing the moment.”  -Bridget Babcock

 

Tate Hansen: Breaker of Corollas

 

My roommates are the best.

Background: The day after high school graduation - Tate joined Small Car! Finding the opportunity through a local apprenticeship program, his goal is to become a Master Technician. The tireless, on-the-go, diversity of the job motivates Tate to show up ready to learn something new every day. He is accustomed to hard work, spending many summers helping his uncle develop a 180-acre plot of land!

What is something that people would be surprised to learn about you? “My bucket list vacation is a European Adventure!” On the top of the list is to visit Rome and see the Colosseum. Aside from vacationing dreams, Tate is also an airsoft/ paintball enthusiast, animal lover, and expert at putting oil in his car.