“Building the Road to Great Technicians” was the featured topic of the National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF) Spring 2016 General Meeting, Wednesday, March 2, 2016 in Overland Park, Kansas. “The automotive service industry has been very good to me, but I won’t recommend it to my daughters for their career,” said Kevin FitzPatrick, President of Autologic Diagnostics. “And it’s not because of the pay scale. It’s because it’s disorganized and doesn’t take advantage of the most talented kids that come to us.”
On this topic Rob Morrell, Training Director for WORLDPAC moderated a series of presentations from experts including:
- Kevin FitzPatrick, President, Autologic Diagnostics Inc
- Bob Augustine, Training Director, Christian Brothers Automotive
- Mark Saxonberg, Mgr, Alt. Fuel Vehicles/Envir., Industry/Govt. Relations, Toyota Motor Sales
- Jill Saunders, Engineer Tech Info & Diagnostics, Toyota Motor Sales
- Kurt Immekus, Service Publication Regulatory Specialist for Volkswagen
- John Latner, Training Manager, ACDelco
- Trish Serratore, President, NATEF/AYES
- Scott Brown, President, iATN
- Chris Chesney, Sr. Director of Customer Training, CARQUEST Technical Institute
The challenge of finding qualified technicians is well documented in the automotive industry and that challenge is expected to become even greater as vehicle technology continues to proliferate.
“It’s essential we figure how to keep the pipeline of new students full and how to make them GREAT technicians for a lifetime,” said Saxonberg.
“We need to drop our brand and affiliations and come together on this,” Chesney challenged. “Our industry needs to adopt a single, common message that will connect with technicians from high school through retirement.”
Presenters portrayed a disorganized industry highlighting several competing initiatives from both the automaker’s and the aftermarket. “We have many great training programs and several respectable student recruiting programs,” noted Morrell. “I hope this discussion compels organization.” NASTF is inviting all industry stakeholders to engage in the discussion to find a solution to this critical need. NASTF’s Education Committee will continue the work begun with this session.