Lawrence Owen, Service Technician, Southwest Nissan

Lawrence Owen

How long have you been in your career? How old were you when you started?   

I have been in automotive for 10 years. I started on heavy trucks in the oilfield when I was 16 working for my father.

What drove you to a service tech career? How did you hear about it?      

My dad has been an automotive and heavy truck master tech all my life. He made me replace the engine that blew in my car when I was 15 and I’ve been turning wrenches ever since. Everyone in my family growing up were technicians.

Did you receive any formal education for this career path?

I went to ATI (Advanced Training Institute) to have the paperwork in my pocket years after I had already been in the field. It was easier transitioning from the oilfield to automotive with the schooling on my resume.

What does a normal workday look like for you? 

A normal work day goes from feast to famine. I can have hardly any work and be waiting on parts to days when I have an engine, transmission, or harness to do all at once. Most days are steady. Not overwhelming and not slow to the point of struggling to make hours.

What’s the best thing about working as a technician?      

I’ve always felt a sense of accomplishment after fixing something that was broken. As I have moved up from trainee to master over the years, the problems get more difficult, and for every hair I have had to pull out, it makes it that much more fulfilling once I have solved the puzzle of what’s wrong.

Talk about your work-life balance: does your job afford time for family and hobbies?        

I have a normal 8AM to 5PM schedule so I have plenty of time at home with my family and enough time to do things I enjoy without being exhausted.

As a skilled service technician, what would you say to someone asking if they should pursue a career in your field?       

That’s great, but understand that the money doesn’t just come on day one. It takes time to learn and become efficient, especially on flag hour (the predetermined number of hours it takes to complete a repair job). And once you have put the time in and become good and fast in this field it gets slow every year. But it also makes up for it once the busy season hits. It can change day-to-day, week-to-week. All in all, it’s a fulfilling career that can provide a comfortable life.