Growing up in a military family (hint- growing up on a tight budget), there were always things around the house that needed repair. At an early age I developed a desire to understand how things worked, and what made them tick. We lived in Europe during my 4th, 5th, and 6th grades. Europe provided me an opportunity to be shocked by 220 volts on more than one occasion. I acquired not only a deep respect for electricity, but also a desire to understand it better. At 12 years old we returned home and I started building bicycles with the parts collected from curb trash. It wasn't long before I was the neighborhood bike tech, repairing and tuning the bikes owned by my friends and their friends. At 15, my parents' basement was full of a variety of styles of bicycles and a huge pile of extra parts. Then came cars.
My first real job was at Burke Center Exxon, as a "Petroleum Transfer Technician." In other words, I pumped full serve gas, back when we used to have full serve pumps. Exxon exposure to the mechanics/ technicians, vehicles, and repairs, intrigued me. An interest in car audio then led me to my next job, Greg's Auto Sound. I learned to install vehicle security systems, audio systems, and cellular telephones, back when the cellular antennae in the rear window was commonly referred to as "the pigtail of success." Greg's was also the first place I became familiar with Lamborghinis, Rolls Royce's, and many other exotic vehicles. Greg's has since gone out of business, but the knowledge gained at Greg's provided a unique foundation for a career in the automotive field. At Greg's, I learned first the thing most mechanics learn last, and never really learn completely, electrical. For 14 years, I worked all over the Northern Virginia area at many different automobile businesses.
When asked, I will tell you the primary thing I learned from my employers (aside from a comprehensive knowledge of automobiles), was "how not to treat a customer." In 1996 I opened Quantico Service Station near Quantico Marine Base. Lisha, my Black Wolf and partner, was my only helper in the beginning. A few years later I met my wife, Chriss, who now ably manages our front desk. In 2006, Prince William County used "Eminent Domain" to widen Route 1. Alas, I was forced to close Quantico Service Station. It was at Quantico Service Station that I earned the reputation as the shop that could "get it right," and the trust of many of the local dealers, shops, and Collector car owners. After we closed Quantico Service Station, my wife and I decided to start a new specialty business focused on classic, antique and specialty vehicles. I had been pursuing car restoration for many years, and I enjoy the challenges restoration presents. To keep the memory of Lisha, my first partner, alive, Black Wolf Automotive Specialties was established in 1996.
- Chris Berry, Founder of Black Wolf