Farewell Steve, Welcome Chris
New era for PartSelect as our iconic video host retires, and we say hello to a new expert
All good things must come to an end, and it was with heavy hearts that the PartSelect team recently said goodbye to our video host and repair technician extraordinaire, Steve Ash, as he departed to enjoy a well-earned retirement.
Over the past 11 years, Steve has been the friendly face and voice of PartSelect on our YouTube Channel and repair videos all over the website, helping customers and viewers identify and solve hundreds of thousands of repairs in their homes, saving countless dollars on repair calls and new appliances.
The time has come for Steve to enjoy retirement, and though we’re deeply sad to see him go, we’re excited to welcome his very capable replacement (and, some have said, doppelganger!), Chris Boyle, a technician with more than 40 years of experience across almost every type of product you can imagine using around your home.
A lifetime of repairs
Though Steve’s job as a video host began in 2011, his journey with us is much longer. Steve first joined Eldis Group Partnership, PartSelect’s parent company, in 1975, starting with the humble job of shipping packages from the warehouse after completing an electronics course in trade school. In the 45-plus years of service that followed, he has worn many different hats with us, from warehouse-hand, to commercial service rep, service technician for both appliances and electronics, commercial sales rep, regional service manager, and most recently, video host and producer.
From a young age, Steve knew that helping people solve problems with appliances and electronics around their homes was his calling. “I developed an interest in what made things tick,” he said. “I’d wake up in the middle of the night with solutions to problems and I couldn’t wait to get to work and put them into practice. There was always a fascination with the satisfaction of figuring things out and helping customers solve their problem.”
Steve’s career saw him traveling far and wide, helping customers in their homes and teaching technicians in service schools to solve problems with appliances of varying scale and commercial complexity. So, when PartSelect proposed he step in front of a camera instead of an in-person customer or classroom in 2011, it felt like a natural fit. “It very quickly became comfortable to me,” he said. “I was used to talking anyway, and I was confident in what I had to say, and apparently I portrayed that quite well, because over the years it became clear that our customers felt the same way. I guess I was calm, confident, not flashy, and told people what they needed to know.”
Over the coming decade Steve helped PartSelect produce thousands of videos that helped millions of viewers. What started as an experiment quickly proved itself to be a winning formula, as Steve’s calm and concise experience emboldened so many to carry out their own DIY repairs. “With the videos, I got the same feeling I used to get when leading service schools,” he said. “The feeling that people got something out of the effort we put into producing these videos.”
PartSelect has watched as Steve’s approach and effort captured the hearts and trust of our customers, with our customer service representatives constantly fielding emails and phone calls singing his praises and thanking him for saving them time and money, and sometimes having some interesting follow-up questions of their own. “Every couple of months one of the call center representatives would tell me that someone had asked them if I was married,” laughed Steve.
Enter Chris Boyle
Not content to ride off into the sunset and leave the role of PartSelect video host in just anyone’s hands, Steve was conscious of helping our production team find the right replacement for his enormous boots. “I knew instinctively when I made my decision to retire, that there weren’t many people left with the skillset needed to do this video hosting still out there,” he said. “I really did care. I know the people who work here, I know the family that owns this company. It was my legacy, I didn’t want this to fall apart.”
Chris Boyle and Steve have a history that goes back to a friendship that was earned when Chris was a part of one of Steve’s service schools, way back in the late 1990s. Steve and Chris kept in touch over the decades that followed, and although their communication had become sporadic, Chris was always top of Steve’s mind as someone who could do this job, and do it well. “I took him out to lunch and I told him he’d be great at this. He had the experience. I was very confident in Chris. He has the same type of care for people, and is used to working with the public, and he knows what he’s talking about when working with appliances, lawn equipment, power tools, and more,” Steve said.
All that remained was the question mark about Chris’s comfortability on camera. “He came in and just nailed it,” Steve said. “We didn’t give him a script, we just told him what we wanted him to talk about, and he just nailed it. I didn’t even have to train this guy. We spent one week together on set and he’s been in the studio ever since. He knows his stuff, he’s always looking for new ways to do things, but he has that calm authoritative demeanor to him, because he knows what he’s doing. He’s not making things up. He’s been there.”
Chris knew the challenge he was up against in taking over from Steve from the start, and that there can only ever be one Steve. “It’s going to be tough filling his shoes,” Chris said. “He’s just so relaxed and smooth that he just makes it look so easy. Ever since I started moving into this role, I realized just how difficult it is and how easy he makes it look.”
Chris believes what he brings to the table is a lot of experience dealing with customers. “Very quickly in doing service calls, you learn to appreciate what a customer is going through, what they’re trying to accomplish, and from that, you learn to understand what the customer needs to hear and how to get it across,” he said. “Talking to the camera you don’t quite get the same body language or reaction, so you have to imagine what that would be like. I bring a lot of experience, a lot of diagnostic ability, and I’ve had my hands on a lot of products, and I’ve used them all. I can understand what it is the customer is trying to do and how to help them get through it.”
Despite retiring, Steve’s never far away from a repair or DIY job. “I’ve already been doing some appliance repair in my retirement,” he said. “There’s always some repair projects to do around the house, and I’ve always been a person that can’t sit still for very long. There’s always got to be something to do.” You can take the man out of the workshop, but it’s much harder to take the workshop out of the man. The PartSelect team wants to wish Steve a heartfelt thank you for his four-and-a-half decades of service, his friendship, and his dedication to our mission to help our customers save time and money by completing their own DIY repairs.
Steve's parting message for PartSelect viewers was one of gratitude. “I’m just so humbled by the feedback we’ve gotten from our customers all these years,” he said. “That they enjoyed what we did, and that we were able to help them, it made me very happy, it really did. I guess, in parting, I want to say to those customers to stay with us, because we’re going to continue to do that and more. I’m very confident that we’ve handed the reins to someone who is as capable or more capable than I have been in providing that help to you, and will continue to do so. Thank you all, for everything.”
No, thank you, Steve. And enjoy your retirement.