Albert Daniel’s childhood did not put him on track to become an award-winning business owner with two successful automotive repair franchises. Albert grew up in a rough neighborhood in suburban Washington, D.C. and did not have the money to attend college, but believed he could find opportunities for his future in the military. Albert credits the United States Navy for giving him the tools to serve his country and his future.
“My military experience was extremely helpful and prepared me in so many ways,” said Daniel. “I was taught the importance of having a strong work ethic and doing whatever it takes to get the job done right. All those things I learned in the military.”
Albert earned his GED and enlisted in the U.S. Navy at age 17, spending six years in the service from 1989 to 1994. Since he had experience working on cars growing up, Albert tested high as a potential mechanic. He was trained to repair and maintain jets aboard the USS George Washington (CVN 73) stationed in Norfolk, Virginia and was part of the crew that built the aircraft carrier. The technical skills Albert acquired in the Navy gave him an advantage for a career working on cars when he returned to civilian life.
“I was a good fit as an employee as soon as I got out. It helped me grow professionally and be the top lead mechanic in my job at a dealership,” said Albert. “I felt the next step up from there was to open my own business.”
An accident on the job sidelined Albert with a knee injury and he was unable to work while he recovered. It had always been his dream to become a business owner, so Albert spent that time recuperating and looking for a business to purchase. That’s when Albert discovered Moran Family of Brands, one of the nation’s leading franchisors of general automotive repair, transmission repair, and automotive accessory centers.
Guided by his vast technical knowledge acquired in the military and interest in working on cars, Albert opened his Milex Complete Auto Care shop in Frederick, Maryland in 2007. In 2015, he added a Milex/Alta Mere co-branded store that specializes in automotive repair along with window tinting and driver safety technology in nearby Boonsboro, Maryland. Albert and his wife, Serina, operate the shops together.
Albert and Serina say one of their secrets to success is keeping their employees happy. By offering competitive benefits and extras like lunch on Saturdays, the Daniels have assembled an experienced staff, who in turn, make their customers happy by providing quality service. Albert makes it a point to hire veterans for his businesses and currently has two fellow brothers in arms working in his auto shop.
Through his commitment to creating a positive company culture and provide a wide array of automotive services to residents in western Maryland, Albert has become one of the most successful franchise owners in the Moran Family of Brands’ system. He has been named Milex Franchisee of the Year four times and is an active member of Moran’s Franchise Advisory Alliance. He also serves as a mentor to new franchise owners, offering guidance and support as they enter the system.
Sometimes he provides advice to franchisees who are fellow veterans. Moran Family of Brands currently has 15 franchise owners who are U.S. armed forces veterans, coming from every branch of the military, including the National Guard. Moran actively recruits veterans as franchise owners and is a member of VetFran, an initiative that provides a $5,000 franchise fee discount, mentorship and training programs for honorably discharged U.S. Veterans to foster their transition to civilian life.
“Veterans have so many valuable qualities that translate well into franchise ownership, whether it is discipline, leadership or an outstanding work ethic,” said Pete Baldine, President of Moran Family of Brands. “Franchise owners such as Albert have been extremely successful in our system and we are able to give veterans the opportunity to apply the skills and principles they acquired in the military toward a rewarding career.”
Small business ownership is widely recognized as a great option for veterans following their time in the military. According to the Department of Defense, nearly 200,000 servicemen and women separate from active duty in the United States military each year. They have a strong grasp of leadership fundamentals and have significant experience leading others. This can make the transition from the military to franchise ownership smooth and successful.
Albert said the franchise system works well for veterans who are trained to follow a system. He also likes that Moran Family of Brands have resources available to call if a problem arises, so franchisees don’t feel like they’re in business alone.
“Coming out of the military you often have the hands-on training that prepares you for what you need to do,” said Daniel. “The franchise side gives you the whole package for your business so you can open with a greater chance of success.”
For more information on Moran Family of Brands, please visit moranfamilyofbrands.com.
Article published in Franchising USA Magazine April 2019