Meet our Team

We don’t just work on cars….We LOVE cars!

Artie Baxley - Owner

Artie Baxley

Artie was born and raised in Gainesville, FL.  He started tinkering with cars in high school.  A graduate of Eastside High School and the Santa Fe Community College Automotive Program, Artie has been getting the people of Gainesville back on the road for over 37 years!  His professional career in auto repair started at a small local shop.  After years as a mechanic he moved on to work for a large corporate tire and repair facility where he worked his way up the corporate ladder all the way to store manager.  

Having the experience and expertise to be able to run an entire corporate location, Artie began thinking about owning his own shop so that he could be his own boss.  On April 18, 2001 Artie purchased Performance Transmission and A/C.  It was a small but established shop with 2 bays and 2 full time mechanics.  As long as the customer was treated right and with respect, and the mechanics were treated fairly and continuously educated, Artie would have been happy with the small shop.  However, after years of mostly word of mouth marketing, Performance Transmission and A/C needed to grow to keep up with its growing customer base.  Now the shop has 5 full time mechanics, a manager/service writer, 2 office staff,  4 indoor lifts, 1 outdoor heavy duty lift, the most up to date equipment, and a clean spacious lobby.  

A direct result of his hard work and determination, along with his superior customer service skills Artie and the team at Performance Transmission and A/C have become one of the highest customer-rated  auto repair shops in online reviews.

Kathy Baxley - Owner

Kathy Baxley

Kathy was born and raised in Micanopy, Fl and met Artie in high school.  Even as a young girl she spent many hours around cars;  she was a huge stock car racing and Nascar fan and also watched her father, Andrew Graham, with the stock car he owned and raced.  She was also voted Miss Lake City Speedway in 1973.   Kathy and Artie married in 1981 and have 2 sons; Jason (41) and Dustin (35).  With over 16 years experience working as an educator for PreK special needs children Kathy has the biggest, kindest and most generous heart of anyone you will ever meet.

Kathy started working at Performance Transmission and A/C from its very first day in 2001.  Her job has always been to “do whatever it takes to help the business succeed”.  From cleaning and taking out the trash, to booking appointments, answering phone calls and bookkeeping, Kathy continues to work hard.

When not working she can be found enjoying life with Artie out on the water, watching Gator football, traveling to boat and/or car shows or simply hanging out with friends by her pool in Crystal River.


Dustin Baxley    

Dustin Baxley - Manager/Service Writer

Dustin Baxley - Manager/Service Writer

A Gainesville native and graduate from Buchholz High School, Dustin loves this town, its people and  history and, of course the Florida Gators! Growing up helping his dad fix cars and watching NASCAR and drag racing it just seemed logical that Dustin would join his dad and mom by working at Performance Transmission and A/C.  With years of customer service experience from his jobs in high school, Dustin helped in the creation of a welcoming and positive atmosphere within the shop.

At the very beginning Dustin ran errands, swept and mopped the shop, gave customers rides, picked up parts and answered phone calls.   Now Dustin has earned the title of  General Manager and Service Writer.  In 2011, with his eyes on the future, Dustin spearheaded the redesign and expansion of the shop and lobby areas. The project was about more than just changing the layout and size of the shop.  It was also about continuing to move Performance Transmission and A/C into the future of auto repair by creating a customer service centered facility.

Having 17 years of professional experience working with Artie, Dustin is extremely knowledgeable on how cars operate.  The most impressive part of Dustin’s talent is his ability to communicate with clients in a kind and patient way the details of the repairs needed.  Most of our customers do not understand how a car works. However, when there is an expensive problem most people desire to understand enough about the problem with their vehicle in order to fully grasp what they are getting for their money. In these instances, Dustin is able to explain, even the most complex problem, in a simple and easy to understand way without making the client feel ignorant or uneducated.

Dustin and Colleen have been married since May 2009.  On January 26th, 2016  they welcomed their first son into the world, Andrew Stephen Baxley.    Their family also includes  an adorable cat, Whiskey.  Dustin also has a 150 gallon freshwater plant and fish tank at home.   In his spare time, Dustin enjoys camping, fishing, boating, hiking, scuba diving, kayaking, and smoking meats to enjoy while watching Gator football or basketball games.


Colleen Baxley

Colleen H. Baxley - Front Counter/Customer Service

Born and raised in Glenham, NY Colleen moved to Florida in 1999 to pursue a career as a dolphin trainer.  With a B.S. degree in Psychology/Biology (aka Animal Training) she has been a professional dog trainer for 20 years.  After years of following her dolphin dreams and moving from Florida to Mexico and back again, Colleen settled in Gainesville in 2006 after meeting Dustin. Colleen became the newest Baxley on May 9, 2009.   By April 2014 Performance Transmission and A/C was ready to hire additional office/counter help.    Although she already had a job, joining the shop team seemed like a great way of expanding the family business.  With her positive and outgoing personality, Colleen is mainly responsible for customer service and marketing.

One of the many reasons Colleen fits right into the Baxley family is because she loves to be out on a boat; fishing, scalloping, manatee and dolphin watching are just some of her favorite boating activities.  Her non-boat related past-times include reading and writing about dog training, fund raising for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Beagle Freedom Project, going to Gator Gymnastics meets, playing with makeup, shopping, dancing and spending time with friends and family.



Ben Kiser

Ben Kiser - Mechanic

Ben is an Ohio native and moved to Kentucky before moving to Florida while still a child.  Ben’s father was a mechanic and a machinist; so Ben grew up building and fixing all sorts of mechanical things.  While attending high school in Jacksonville, FL Ben started his “formal” auto mechanic training in shop class. After high school he attended GM’s auto training school, Chevron Oil Company’s Training, and even more education at the Santa Fe Automotive Program.  In 1974 he moved to Georgia to work for the Underground Utility Company running heavy equipment.  Throughout his career he also gained experience with building truck frames and axles at his brother’s shop in Jacksonville.

Our most veteran employee, Ben joined Performance Transmission and A/C in September 2006.  Ben’s wife of 24 years, Marie, works as a book keeper.  His oldest daughter Anna Douglas is married with 2 kids.  His son, Christopher lives in Tennessee with his wife and 3 kids.  And Ben’s youngest daughter Alyshia is 22.  In his spare time Ben can usually be found completing “honey-do” lists around the house, or out hunting or fishing.



 Luis Gras

Luis Gras - Mechanic

Luis was born in Cuba and grew up in both California and South Florida.   He and his wife, Raquel, have been married 26 years and have enjoyed raising their two children in Melrose since 1993.  Raquel works at Shands as a translator.  His daughter, Bianca, is at Columbia University pursuing her Law Degree.  And his son, Danny, recently graduated the University of Florida with a Political Science Degree.  The Gras family also includes 3 rescue animals:  two cats and a dog.

He has loved working on cars for so long he says he can’t remember when it all began!   After graduating from Grover Morgan Technical School he has always worked as a mechanic; it is what he loves to do and he excels at it!  His area of expertise is A/C repair.  With over 34 years of professional experience, he has only worked at a handful of repair shops.  He and Artie actually worked together at another local shop for over 8 years back in the 1990′s.  He joined Performance Transmission and A/C team in May 2012.

In his free time, Luis enjoys tending to his property, wood working, and fixing things around the house.


Billy White

Billy White - Mechanic

Born at AGH and raised in Archer, FL, Billy joined our team in January 2016.  Even though he is still in his 20′s, he still has an impressive 9 years of professional auto mechanic experience.  Billy is the epitome of the saying “Do one thing and do it well”.  He says he literally can’t remember ever wanting to be anything other than an auto mechanic.  At only 4 years old his Christmas list was filled with tools, not toys!  He graduated from Newberry High School and Sante Fe College.  When he was young Billy trained himself on how to fix cars.  As an adult, he has had professional training from Mitsubishi and General Motors Service Technical College.  Billy is also ASE certified for Automatic and Manual Transmissions.  Artie plans on assisting Billy reach his personal and professional goal of being ASE Master Certified before he turns 30!

When he is not at the shop fixing cars, Billy says he is at home fixing cars.  He builds cars, flips cars, drives cars, breaks cars so he can fix more cars!!  He must bleed oil!!  With his great attitude and superior knowledge and skills our team has only benefited from his presence.



Clay Tillman

Clay Tillman - Mechanic

The youngest member of the team, Clay is a pleasure to have working with us!  Clay was born at 7 Rivers Hospital in Citrus County.  He graduated Buchholz HS in 2015 and started working with us in July 2016.  Most of us can’t believe that Clay was born only a couple years prior to when Artie bought Performance Transmission!

Clay is currently attending the Santa Fe Automotive Program and is set to graduate in 2018.  His long-term professional goal is to be a Certified Master Technician by the age of 25.

Growing up Clay always enjoyed helping his father fix the family vehicles.  Since he was in 5th grade, Clay has been restoring his 1970 Monte Carlo.  As a young kid, every Friday Clay would go to the Bronson Racetrack.  His dad would compete with his race car and Clay would be there to be his assistant mechanic.  Currently, Clay maintains his 2 daily driving vehicles, a 1999 Chevy Suburban and a 1983 Chevy Silverado.  The Silverado has had a transmission swap from being automatic to a manual transmission and Clay rebuilt the engine.

After work and school priorities, Clay enjoys hunting (mainly deer and hog), fishing (fresh and saltwater) and riding dirt bikes and 4 wheelers!



Mark Robinson                                                    

Mark is now our newest team member!  He was born (1991) and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa.  Mark speaks English and Afrikaans (a Dutch dialect).  He and his family moved to Gainesville, Florida USA in July of 2011.

Some of his favorite childhood memories are when he would help his dad take things apart and put them back together.  He has always enjoyed working with his hands and the sense of accomplishment of successfully getting something working again.   Being a mechanic just seemed like the perfect career.  Plus he liked the idea of being able to fix his own car even if it broke down on the side of the road.

Mark graduated from the Sante Fe Automotive Program in 2015.  After graduation, he worked as a Quick Lube Technician at a Dealership.   However, he aspired to find a job where he could do more than just oil changes.  Luckily someone referred him to apply with us!  Now his 5-year goal is to simply become the best mechanic he can be and get experience doing all aspects of auto repair.

In his spare time, he is home taking care of his animals: 2 dogs, a leopard gecko, gerbil, and fish.  Mark also enjoys watching movies and playing on his XBox.  If you see Mark around the shop please welcome him to our shop family!



Andrew Stephen Baxley

Due to popular demand, we are including Drew in the team bio’s!

Drew was born at UF/Shands Hospital at 3:52 pm on January 26, 2016.  Drew is the luckiest boy in the world getting to come to work every day with mom, dad, grandma (GiGi) and Grandpa.  On most days GiGi (Kathy) spends the day watching, playing and teaching Drew in his big playroom in the back area of the shop.

Drew loves to slide down slides, play and swim in water, run around the yard, go on camping and fishing adventures and go for rides in Daddy’s truck!






“Charlie” Baxley


After both our sweet beagle ladies passed away, our family did not feel complete without a dog.   We visited many rescues before we found our new pup, Charlie.  We rescued him from Gainesville Pet Rescue in April 2018.

He is a 2-year-old English Pointer mix.  Charlie is one of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet!  He loves greeting clients who are in the lobby, and for some people, he will even bring his toy out to play his favorite game, tug of war.  When he is not at work, he loves to chew on bones, learn new tricks, play fetch, keep away and tug, and chase our cat, Whiskey, around the house!  Please stop by the shop and say HI to Charlie anytime.  (The only thing we don’t encourage right now is being petted over the counter, we don’t like all the scratches his claws are leaving.)