Meet Our Santa Cruz Mechanics and Leaders


Our Staff | Nate Smith's Optimal Auto Care

After graduating from UCSC, Nate began his BMW career as an apprentice technician at the Santa Cruz BMW dealership in January of 1973. With BMW's excellent factory training, Nate became the senior technician at the dealership by mid-year 1974 and Service Manager by 1975. Shortly before the Santa Cruz dealership closed, Nate and Meg opened Nate Smith's Optimal Auto Care, in February of 1991.

Nate and Meg managed to raise four sons - Ben (a New York City marketing consultant), Jeff (a PhD candidate studying rattlesnake ecology), Dan (an equine specialist in Texas), and Charlie (a New York City theatrical scenic designer).


The success of Nate Smith's Optimal Auto Care services can be attributed to the association of loyal, knowledgeable and hardworking people. The people associated with the company average over five years of service. They are dedicated to one goal...customer satisfaction.

The automobile repair business is no longer a "ratchet and wrench" business; it is a highly technical field. A solid understanding of computers, physics and electrical engineering is necessary now, and this requires education and training. The technicians have been rigorously tested and certified by ASE, the recognized authority for Automotive Technician Certification. Constant training and updating keep these technicians current with the ever changing automobile. Nate Smith is a Master Certified Automobile Technician.

Our Santa Cruz mechanics and technicians have received in depth training in state-of-the-art automotive systems. Trained in the use of special diagnostic instruments, technicians are able to pinpoint problems precisely and accurately.

Our Staff | Nate Smith's Optimal Auto Care

"My staff of expertly trained Technicians and I are dedicated to making sure you get the high quality, expert care your BMW requires and the personal service you deserve. I have been taking care of Santa Cruz area BMW’s for over 30 years - the first 18 as Service Manager of the local dealership and the past 12 here at Optimal Auto Care. We know what it takes to keep your BMW in peak condition and understand how important clear and friendly communication with our customers is. We could add some corny customer testimonials here, but, of course, BMW owners know testimonials are a dime a dozen. Instead, why not just drop by some day, have a cup of coffee and sit and watch the bustle and interaction!

Our Santa Cruz mechanics and technicians are certified and have years of experience maintaining, repairing, driving and even racing BMW’s. It’s not just a job for them, it’s a passion. And they are all the ultimate professionals; they take pride in the quality of their workmanship and so do I. Mark Andrako joined me when I opened in 1991. Soon after Chuck Bentley and then Tom Van Houten came to work here - and they are all still with me. Of course , we have added a few more as the shop grew - but we still think of ourselves as a team, each one bringing some unique talent to the effort."