Losing a job is difficult. Having a job but not being able to work is frustrating. In October of 2013, 800,000 individuals were furloughed from their positions with the federal government. Individuals and families found themselves missing the regular paychecks they depended on to do everything from buy groceries to maintain their vehicles. For many, the temporary loss of work was a real financial hardship.
One local businessman saw the furlough as an opportunity to help his fellow citizens. The general manager of Koons of Silver Springs car dealership, Alex Perdikis made an offer that many just couldn’t refuse. Starting October first, federal employees on furlough were eligible to bring their vehicles in for complimentary maintenance. This including things like oil changes, inspections and even tire rotations.
It took some time to get the ball rolling. In fact, the first set of emails sent out to .gov addresses went largely unreturned. Federal employees were not even allowed to check their email during their furlough time. Eventually, Perdikis kept working at it and word started to spread. Individuals from all over the area came in to take advantage of the deal.
Ironically enough, this worked out well for everyone involved. Most people struggle to rearrange their schedule in order to bring their vehicle into the shop for an oil change. With a little extra time on their hands, these federal employees were able to take care of their vehicles with a cost that fit into their current financial situation: free.
This business move ended up costing the company tens of thousands of dollars but, according to Perdikis, this wasn’t just a promotion for the already successful dealership. “I just look at is as being a good business leader,” said Perdikis, when interviewed by Gabe Nelson of Automotive News.
Perdikis’ desire to just do the right thing doesn’t just extend to the automotive business. He was recently nominated as one of the “Man of the Year” candidates and given the task of raising awareness and funding for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). This honor, courtesy of the National Capital Area chapter, is only given to 20 people each year.
Just like free maintenance for furloughed federal employees, Perdikis, now a managing partner of Koons of Silver Springs, saw this as an opportunity to do the right thing and make a difference. When all was said and done, he raised over $146,000 through a variety of different sources. The group in the D.C. area together raised $1.6 million for therapies and treatments for leukemia and lymphoma. In addition to the LLS, Perdikis participates in several other charities.
There is no doubt that Alex Perdikis is looking to make a difference in the world around him. From helping furloughed federal workers with their car maintenance to raising money and awareness for the LLS, the steps of just one individual are enough to create a real change.