Say the name Marcello Graham in any Lexus or Toyota dealership in Calgary, Canada, and many persons will know exactly who you are referring to.
Jamaica-born Graham has been at Lexus in Calgary for 23 years, and he is definitely one of the go-to guys for questions related to any make and model of Lexus vehicles on the market. Today, he holds the title as lead technician/shop foreman at the dealership, and he has more than 18 awards under his belt.
“In Jamaica, it is seen as a dirty job,” Graham said. “Just say the word mechanic in Jamaica, and it is seen as something dirty. Here in Canada, it is viewed differently. Here you don’t get dirty. Here you have to go to college to be certified. It is a prestigious job that can earn you a lot of money,” Graham told BUZZ.
Graham moved to Canada when he was 15 years old. After leaving high school, he was unsure what he wanted to do, so he took mediocre jobs just to earn a buck. He then moved on to being an automotive apprentice.
But after three years, Graham decided to apply to a Toyota dealership in Calgary. His pay changed significantly from CAD$7 an hour to CAD$15. With the then minimum wage sitting at CAD$9.03 per hour, this was big encouragement for Graham, who was in his early 20s in 1996. A year after being at Toyota, Graham was promoted to being a Lexus technician – Lexus being the luxury division of Toyota.
Two years after being with the Lexus dealership, Graham was promoted to being the assistant shop foreman. But this was not an overnight achievement, as he was trained at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT). He was also the very first technician in Calgary to be certified to work on Lexus Hybrid vehicles.
Over the years he has won six awards of excellence from Lexus of Canada and over 12 awards from Lexus of Calgary for his hard work and expertise.
“At first it was a long road with limited money,” he said. “But with dedication, training and getting with the right company, it is well worth it. I was able to purchase my home, numerous cars and take care of my family. There were downtimes, but I would say it was a successful path to choose,” said Graham, who currently oversees 17 technicians.
— Written by Donna Hussey-Stewart