By JIM PARKER

The Post and Courier

Providing personal service and taking the time to conduct research are traits that have served David Rodwell well in the auto sales trade.

He should know, too, having entered the business in the mid 1960s. “I’ve spent 46 years fine-tuning (the approach),” he said.

Rodwell, age 66 and a cancer survivor, is a founder and owner of Lowcountry Auto Brokers LLC.

The five-year-old venture locates pre-owned cars for customers — in particular people who want specific and sometimes hard-to-find vehicle makes, models or trims.

David Rodwell and his wife Susan Rodwell are both involved in the business, which doesn’t have a car lot. They contract with local specialists to pick up the cars and trucks and to handle any repairs, detail work or extras such as replacing missing key fobs.

Lowcountry Auto Brokers secures vehicles from auto auctions such as Manheim, a national firm; and from local and regional parties. It also teams with Ricky Davis and Kenny Boyd, auto veterans who are involved in the car buying and selling side of the business.

Still, Rodwell said he realized recently it was time to tweak the company operations.

He brought on Bob Thomas, an engineer who relocated to the Charleston area from New York, as business partner.

“Bob is retiring (from the engineering trade). He’s been a big car fanatic. I need more manpower,” Rodwell said.

From 2001-12, Thomas was assistant vice president of SYSTRA Consulting Inc., a transportation-engineering adviser based in New Jersey. He helped design projects for the New York City, New Jersey, Massachusetts Bay and Metropolitan Transit authorities and the New York Department of Sanitation. His final consulting job was asset manager for the $8 billion East Side Access Project.

Prior to his work with the consulting firm, Thomas was a federal engineer working with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Department of Agriculture and finally Department of the Army where he was Facilities Engineer at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

Thomas majored in civil engineering at South Dakota Schools of Mines and Technology, graduating in 1971. His first engineering position was with a small consulting firm in Scranton, Pa.

His wife Angela Trotta Thomas has a notable career of her own as the only artist to be licensed by Lionel toy trains. Her artwork has been featured on several catalog covers, and the company started a Christmas boxcar collection a decade ago in her name and featuring her artwork.

Meanwhile, Lowcountry Auto Brokers has secured a West Ashley location to store cars while they are waiting to be delivered. The operation is at 1752 Jessamine Road near the corner of Sam Rittenberg Boulevard and Ashley River Road.

Rodwell said he is looking to increasepre-owned car and truck sales from its current 10-12 units a month to 15-18 units by the summer.

“The last four years have been the best,” said Rodwell, who was a manager and worked in other positions at various dealerships over the decades before helping to start Lowcountry Auto Brokers. “It’s a lot more rewarding here.”

For more information, contact Rodwell at 843-297-2905 or Thomas at 843-754-0231 or visit www.lowcountryautobrokersllc.com.

.Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.