How long have you been in your career? How old were you when you started?
I have been in the automotive industry for going on 14-15 years now. I started my sophomore year of high school in auto shop class but didn’t start my career until right after high school in 2005. My shop teacher gave a lot of insight and knowledge that I am grateful for today!
What drove you to a service tech career? How did you hear about it?
I started thinking about being a tech in high school. I always loved to tear apart stuff and put it back together. Then when I was 16, I got my first car and my uncle (who was a tech as well) helped me build an engine and I was hooked. At my auto shop, a representative for the GM ASEP/Shoreline Community College came to one of our shop nights along with a tech from a local GM dealer and I was told about the GM ASEP (Automotive Service Educational Program) and what I could be/do with my career, so I decided to pursue this career path and 14+ years later, here I am.
Did you receive any formal education for this career path
I was accepted to the GM ASEP program at Shoreline Community College and started working at a local GM dealership during the program, and graduated with an associate degree from the college as well.
What does a normal workday look like for you?
A normal day is being ready to go at 8AM with a cup of coffee in one hand and the day’s schedule in the other. I have other techs on my team and we talk about the day and hit the ground running. Whether it’s an oil change or an in-depth diagnostic, we work together and succeed every day! The day usually is pretty busy with all kinds repairs and maintenance work. We usually end with a productive day and try to get prepared for the next.
What’s the best thing about working as a technician?
The best thing about being a technician for me is taking something that is broken, not working right or just worn, and making it all work again, especially vehicles that have been towed in not knowing why they won’t start or move, and being able to drive them out of the shop with the confidence that they will not return! Having the knowledge to tackle everything that comes my way I find to be a great high – that I can take someone’s vehicle and make it just as good as new with a little time and tools. It gives me great pride to be driving down the road and see a car that I have worked on and saying, “Hey, I fixed that car and it’s cruising down the road doing its job for its owner!”
Talk about your work-life balance: does your job afford time for family and hobbies?
I work as hard as I can to provide for my family. There are times when you have to work late to get the job done, but in the end I know that I will still have the time away from the job to be with family, whether it is a lazy weekend or taking the trailer down to the coast for a three-day weekend. In my career, I have always made the time for what I want to do and to spend time with my family or be able to go out to the lake or play some golf on a nice Sunday morning. I have a good balance of work and home. We all spend more time at work than at home but I find if you know the “work” limit you can balance your job and home with no issues.
As a skilled service technician, what would you say to someone asking if they should pursue a career in your field?
I would tell them to be open-minded and learn from everyone you can. I would also say a good route to go is to pick a manufacturer and try to see if they have a school for their brand like GM, Honda, Toyota, Ford or whatever brand you would like to work for. It’s a good start and can get you a lot of places years down the road. I have worked at GM dealers, a local shop, a Firestone complete auto care [facility] and even a Ford dealer for a while, and I have found my home at my current Hyundai dealer, where I can use my knowledge and skills to help the dealer and myself grow to new heights and goals. If you really want to be a tech, then find a place where you want to grow and that you can contribute to 100% every day, and go home with a good paycheck and a smile at the end of the day, knowing that you did the best you could, and tomorrow you will learn something new to make you better for the future! If you have that in mind, with a good education or schooling and with a good lead tech, foreman, managers, and shop owners that you can learn from, then you will succeed in your career.