The Founding of Bridwell Automotive Center
Bill Bridwell Sr. grew up in Carlsbad, New Mexico and graduated from Carlsbad High School. Two years later, Bill was riding in a rodeo where he asked Delora Montgomery to marry him. Our part of the Bridwell family was started.
Bill opened his first Chevron Gas Station as the owner and chief mechanic. After a successful start-up, Bill sold his business and began looking for a new opportunity.
Bill went to work for a diesel power plant of the Potash Company of America while also working to earn a degree in Power Plant Engineering. Over the next two years Bill had two boys, Bill Jr. and Lloyd, and earned a degree in Stationary Diesel Engineering. All was well!
In 1957 Bill accepted a job as a Technician Specialist, Physical Science Laboratory at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico. The project was Field Test, fusing devices for warheads on missiles at White Sands Missile Range. Bill was quickly promoted to Chief Technician and assistant to the Chief Engineer. In 1959 Bill was promoted to Field Representative at Yuma Test Station in Arizona, coordinating all solid fuel missile tests in Yuma.
Because of his experience gained in Yuma, Bill was offered a position as Systems Test Specialist with General Electric Co. at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. He was assigned to a “Special Black Covert Satellite Program” where the function was to monitor, record and provide Data Reduction for satellite tests. “In 1962 our satellite equipped with cameras filmed Russia placing missiles in Cuba in an event known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. I was living it firsthand!” said Bill. “My wife Delora and my four boys did not know what I did for a living all those 50 years. Our group received Commendations from Brigadier General John L. Martin Jr. USAF for our work in spotting Russia with the missiles.”
In July 1967 Bill accepted a position with General Electric working on The Manned Orbiting Laboratory Project as Manager of Development, Sub System I Laboratory. President Nixon canceled The Manned Orbiting Laboratory in favor of the Earth Satellite Research project. That led to Bill changing jobs to the GE Computer Division in Phoenix, AZ. Later, Bill had three offers to take the Development Lab for the Earth Satellite Research Lab, which is still an on-going satellite program. Bill turned down that offer, took his vested rights, and chose early retirement.
In 1971, Bill studied companies that GE research had shown to have high potential for profitable returns with little investment. Gasoline service stations emerged as one of the best ideas. This was of no interest to the big boys, but for a small operator in the right location, there was an opportunity to do quite well. Bridwell and Sons Texaco was born.
Bill Jr was in college, Lloyd was a Junior in high school, Lane was 13 and in eighth grade and Terry was 7 at that time. Bill thought it would be a great way to put the entire family through college and that his children would learn a lot in the family business. Let her rip! In a short time, they added Bridwell and Son’s Texaco Station at Granite Reef and Chaparral.
A little over year later, Bridwell’s Texaco at Lincoln and Scottsdale Road was opened. In 3 more years, Bridwell’s NAPA Parts Store at Shea and Scottsdale Rd. was added. Shortly afterwards, they opened a new location of Bridwell’s Mobil at Shea and Scottsdale Roads. A little while later, Bridwell’s Automotive and Trim Shop at 2nd Street opened, then Bridwell’s Texaco at 2nd St. and Scottsdale Rd.
Our best business has always been Bridwell Automotive Center at Lincoln and Scottsdale Road. We are proud to still offer quality full service gas and automotive repair services 47 years later. Thank you to our treasured customers for allowing us to serve you these many years!