New Experiences For Des Moines Cottman Man

Daniel Harrington has been the Cottman of Des Moines, Iowa owner  since 2003. He came in with experience in transportation, but that experience was pretty far removed from what he’s doing now.

“I was the senior engineer for Bandag; a retread truck tire manufacturer,” says Dan. “My job was quality control, setting up new operations and manufacturing plants, and evaluating manufacturing plants for quality and efficiency.

“Later I began running individual plants, working for the franchisee instead of the franchisor; I was a turnaround specialist for shops that weren’t running right and show them how to be profitable again. And then I’d train my replacement.”

But there really wasn’t any connection with the work he’s doing today. So what got him into the transmission business?

“I’d been looking for my own business for years. Working for other people, I could see the mistakes they were making. And you can’t convince someone else to be enthusiastic about making a change to their business just because you think it’ll be more profitable.

For too many people it’s just a job.”

Reliable Transmission Repair In Des Moines, Iowa

When the Cottman of Des Moines, Iowa center became available, Dan decided to do a little research: “I went around and talked to the general repair shops in the area, to find out who they used for transmission repair.

“Turns out they couldn’t find anyone they could trust. So I decided that, if I focused on the highest quality repair work, I could build a reputation for long term success.”

But why Cottman? “It was a franchise, which I liked; I figured they’d provide support where I needed it, because I wasn’t an expert on transmissions.”

Even though he first researched the issue with other shops, Dan does almost no wholesale or fleet repairs. Nearly everything that comes in is retail. According to Dan, that enables him to charge a fair price and allows him to provide quality repairs for his customers.

While he never worked as a mechanic, Dan did have some experience with cars. “My only real relationship with cars was through my hobby,” says Dan. “I restored and raced Corvettes. At one time I had five Corvettes, all restored.”

And that hobby led to an interesting form of community service: Dan’s a member of the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA). “I’ve been a racing official and a pace car driver for a lot of their races,” he says.

Dan’s also a member of the Fourth of July committee for nearby Urbandale, IA. And because of his relationship with the SCCA, he sponsors and runs their annual car show.

Half the money earned from that show goes to the Urbandale food bank. The other half goes to the Children’s Cancer Connection, which provides free summer camp to children with cancer and their siblings; a situation that’s touched Dan’s life in a personal way.

When it comes to his business, his greatest pride is that he runs an honest center. “It may sound corny, but a big reason that I’ve remained successful in this business is because my honesty and integrity can’t be bought. It’s more important to me than anything else.”

It’s hard to find fault with that.

For more information about Cottman of Des Moines, IA, visit