Assistant Service Manager Mike Shipley was born to fight fires. Well, maybe not born to do it, but with an uncle who was a 20-year veteran of the Olds firefighting brigade, it was, at the very least, in his blood. A junior firefighter by the time he was 16, and an accredited firefighter right after he graduated high school, it was a chance encounter that brought him to the automotive world. The service manager for a Ford dealership in Olds came by the fire hall, and asked Mike what he did for work—when Mike had no answer for him, he was quickly recruited to work at the dealership. In between fighting fires (he would receive a page, hop in his truck and speed to the fire hall), Mike quickly paid his dues; starting with detailing vehicles, and moving to parts, service advising, as well as being an apprentice technician.
While it seemed like there would’ve been nothing that pulled Mike away from firefighting, it was in fact the oldest story in the book: boy meets girl, falls in love, and starts a family. 9 years ago, and about 5 years into his firefighting career, Mike met his wife, got married, and moved to Edmonton. Since then they’ve had two children, a hockey-mad two-year-old son and a five-year-old daughter. With his wife—a member of the Edmonton Police Service—working shift work, having Mike work odd hours wasn’t totally conducive to raising their young family. So, Mike found himself in automotive full time, at Team Ford.
While the service department doesn’t offer the same rush as firefighting, a “surreal” experience where there is “nothing cooler than walking into a burning building and not feeling it,” and where you’re literally “walking through flames,” there are certainly similarities. For one, of the roughly 300 calls a year at the Olds fire department, Mike rarely saw the same thing twice. From the cliche, rescuing kittens out of trees, to brush and house fires, the job kept Mike on his toes. The service department at Team Ford keeps Mike on his toes too, and he’s become adept at handling all issues. Whether it’s explaining repairs to a customer, or rolling up his sleeves and doing the repairs himself, Mike knows how to get the job done. And while he might miss the thrill of fighting fires, especially when he hears the sirens of a truck rushing down 91st street, he wouldn’t change a thing. He left firefighting for his family, because he’d do whatever needs to be done for his family; luckily for us, he’s now a part of the Team Ford family.