Although he works full-time for Hoehn Motors, Mr. Inzunza is a contractor. “We set that up to protect me and [I] carry my own liability insurance.”
That serves as a buffer, which is essential because his work involves a lot of confidentiality, he said.
Mr. Inzunza, 36, said he has a business information technology background but “a heart for ministry.”
“I am there to provide a service of care and support.”
The counseling is nondenominational. Mr. Inzunza said he is recognized as a minister by a local church, is finishing a master's degree in theology and will be seeking ordination, most likely as an evangelical Protestant priest.
Every day, he walks around a few stores. “I greet people, see how they are doing, and how life and work is going. Small conversations lead into big life conversations.”
He has counseled employees about their marriages and relationships and through crisis, stress, anger and illness. “I do hospital visits if someone is sick or going in for surgery or there has been an accident. I am usually being called to visit the family.”
Mr. Inzunza said he performs about three or four weddings at the stores each year.
Does talking help? Mr. Inzunza recalls how one employee was experiencing anxiety and stress because of problems with a personal relationship. The employee was agitated and irritable at work, so much that it was affecting his productivity. “We walked, and he said, ‘It felt like a big burden fell off me. I am more clearheaded.'”
Meli Barrett, a clerk in the administrative office, said she was the first to be married by Mr. Inzunza in 2007.
“I know people go to him,” Ms. Barrett said. “I have seen him outside of work, and it definitely helps having someone to listen who is an unbiased party to offer advice and to be there for support.”
Mr. Inzunza said his “purpose isn't to convert and proselytize—that is not my role. My role is to be someone who journeys with others and is there for support as they are making meaning of their own personal story.”
He figures: “I know a tidbit about each employee.”
Building homes in Mexico
Hoehn Motors employees also give back to the community.
For the past three years, the company has partnered with Amor Ministries, a nonprofit set up by the Solana Beach Presbyterian Church to build homes in Mexico. A group of employees go with Mr. Inzunza to Rosarito, Mexico, over Memorial Day weekend.