Ohio State alumnus Mike Diol has seen good times and bad times, but he remembered the journey that carried him where he is today as he looked to open his new business.
Diol, a local entrepreneur who was born and raised in Columbus, is set to open an automotive business in his hometown this September. He said both being flexible and communicating well have made him successful in his professional career.
“I believe it’s good to be driven and work hard to get somewhere, but while you’re open-minded, you’ll find what you’re interested in may be related to things that you never thought they were, and then it opens you up to experience new stuff,” he said.
He has big plans for the new shop and showed off his sparkling granite counters, fresh paint and state-of-the-art computers. His khaki shirt sported the mark of the mechanic trade with a few grease stains as he explained his path through the corporate world that brought him somewhere he never expected to be.
Diol graduated with a degree in advertising, and believes being willing to change has helped him in the long run.
He was laid off from his job in Detroit when the automotive industry hit a crisis in 2008. His time in Detroit inspired him to move back to his hometown to start his own business because he said the job market in Columbus was more promising.
“When you’re walking to the grocery store and you’re driving down the street and you’re looking at people in the eye, you see unemployment,” he said of Detroit. “You can breathe it in the air.”
Diol said he believed that Columbus has a diverse market that isn’t dependent on any particular industry and is a great test market.
Diol’s automotive business is part of a franchise through Honest-1, an automotive company that specializes in higher quality car care. The grand opening of his store, which will be located at 1030 Old Henderson Road, in a few weeks will be the first Honest-1 business in Ohio.
Chip Baranowski, vice president of franchise development for Honest-1, said opening in Columbus was a good choice on Diol’s part.
“For people who are looking to enhance their skills, entrepreneurship is a great option,” Baranowski said. “It’s innovation, it’s growing.”
During his time at college, the Columbus-native said real-life experiences were invaluable to him. He recommends students work as much as possible.
“Internships are definitely the most important thing, regardless of what the internship is,” Diol said. “It may not be in the alignment of what your dream of what you want to be or do is, but it’s just that everything out there, some part of it will apply to what your interests are.”
Diol said he still follows the best piece of advice he’s ever received, though – “Stick with what you know.”