Danny Almeida, assistant parts manager, Pfaff Audi Vaughan.

Ask Danny Almeida about his typical work day, and the first thing he talks about isn’t managing the a team of two parts consultants serving the technicians, three consultants working with customers and phone clients, or staying on top of a team of drivers who take care of wholesale clients and also maintain the parts department. Nope, the first thing he mentions is the car forums.

“I’m always reading the forums,” Danny says. “I want to see what’s coming to market. Sometimes, the manufacturer is pretty tight-lipped, because they have to be, but you can learn a lot on the forums, and it’s good to be prepared for when a customer comes in to ask questions about new products are on their way. I want to stay ahead of the curve, and I want to be well-informed if I get technical questions. When you’re the go-to guy for parts and accessories, it’s important to stay well-informed.”

Danny grew up around cars. “I remember being around them all the time when I was growing up. My dad would bring me to the shop – back when safety regulations weren’t so stringent and you could really get up close. My parents bought me my first car, a VW pedal car, when I was four years old, and everything comes from that. When I was a young teenager, I was a VW fanatic, and all of my friends were into tuning their cars.”

His entry into the automotive industry came at Eurospeed, an independent shop specializing in the tuning of Audi and Volkswagen products, and he spent the next several years upgrading and modifying his own cars. He’s owned a string of VW/Audi cars, the most memorable of which as a 2000 Jetta which had the first Neuspeed supercharger kit installed in Canada. “Being the first with that kit, it cost me an arm and a leg. But that car had so much low-end torque, and I spent just as much attention modifying the suspension and brakes, so it handled and stopped, too. On the track, other cars might have gotten away from me on the straights, but I’d get them in the corners.”

As assistant parts manager, Danny loves to work with customers that are looking to upgrade their cars. “Most of what we sell are practical items, like floor mats, roof rails, ski racks, and bike racks – cycling is a major hobby for many of our customers, and a number of the staff here are cycling fanatics as well. We’re putting some focus on wheel and tire upgrades this year, and Audi has evolved its line of boutique items, which are proving very popular. Our customers are proud that they drive an Audi, and having a hat, or a watch, or a piece of clothing, is a nice addition.”

These days, Danny drives a 2012 A4 S Line, which he has resisted modifying – too much. Having already come with big wheels, chrome delete, and a number of other sporty cosmetic additions, the only thing he’s done to it so far is lower it. “I couldn’t leave it a hundred per cent stock; upgrading cars is in my blood, and I want my kids to be into this kind of thing too.”

Ask him what he likes about working at Pfaff Audi and the answer comes quickly. “It’s the way the company is run. We’ve grown a lot over the years, but you’re never just a number. Everybody that works here gets along, and the president of the company knows everyone’s name and comes by to say hi. And they’re always looking for ways to do things better. The only reason I’d ever leave Pfaff is if I wanted to leave the industry. Because if I want to stay around cars, this is where it’s at.”