Program: General Motors Automotive Service Educational Program
Education/Industry Certifications: AAS GM ASEP SCC Milford 1994, BA Instructional Technology Bellevue University 2007/ASE Master Automobile Certified since 1994, ASEP Heavy/Medium Duty Truck Master Certified since 2005, General Motors World Class Technician since 2007
Has Taught at SCC Since: July 2005
Years of Work Experience Outside SCC: 11+ years
Describe your teaching philosophy.My teaching philosophy can best be explained through the question I write and leave at the front of my classroom at the start of every quarter. “How does what I do today prepare me for mm/dd/yyyy?” The date I put at the end is not the next test or the end of this quarter. It’s not even the student’s projected graduation date! It is the first work day AFTER graduation. I make my decisions about what we do in class and lab by asking myself if it will better prepare my students for their career. If so, I find a way to make it happen. If not, we use that time more wisely in some other way.
Why did you decide to teach at a community college?I didn’t always plan to end up as a teacher. My current friends would never believe that I was shy and reserved for most of my life, up to the point I took the service manager job at my last dealership. When that happened I made a conscious decision to work on my public speaking and personal interaction skills. After several years of interacting with the public, a friend of mine mentioned an opening in the Diesel Technology program at SCC. I thought that my experience may be useful to pass along to the next generation of technicians, and investing in people sounded like a noble profession. When the opportunity came less than a year later to move to the General Motors ASEP program, I felt like I was being called home to a program that fit my knowledge base perfectly!
What can prospective students expect when they enroll in your program?We hit the ground running. There are so many exciting aspects to the automotive industry and General Motors vehicle service that we simply don’t have time to waste. We spend about half our time in the classroom and the other half in lab during the on-campus quarters. To me, the really exciting aspect of the ASEP program is that after about three months of on-campus instruction and application, the student returns to their sponsoring General Motors dealership or ACDelco repair facility and uses what they learned in a real-life service environment. They return at the end of that three-month quarter for another round of on-campus instruction. This cycle repeats for a total of four quarters on-campus and three co-op quarters.
What experiences outside of SCC do you bring to the classroom/laboratory that enhance student learning?My career to this point covers the automotive service industry from almost every angle. I was an ASEP student at SCC (1994 graduate). I was a Master Certified GM Dealership technician. I was a GM Dealership service manager. Now, my position as an instructor for the ASEP program brings things full circle. I know how technicians think and also what management expects. I have interacted with customers that are delighted with their service experience and some that were let down by a department or technician that came up short. I pass along these experiences to my students through expectations of excellence in everything we do, and repetition to get there if we fail the first time.
What advice do you have for students pursuing a degree in your program?Think! Think all of the time. An idle mind is not your friend. Sure, we all need some down time. It’s even good for us to have regular periods of rest and relaxation. The problem is, it’s pretty easy to let a few minutes of escape turn into hours of electronic distraction and mind-numbing frivolity of little value in the bigger picture. Instead, look for things to learn! It’s not the electronics that are the problem. They can actually be excellent tools when used properly. Find something that interests you and learn more about it. Politics, machinery, electronics, geography, weather, economics, current events, etc. There are applications for every one of the categories I just mentioned that we use every day in class. Set your goal to become an expert in two completely different categories (automotive technology should be one of them). When you understand your world, you have the knowledge to be the best at your little part of it.
What do you enjoy most about working with students?I enjoy seeing a timid student who lacks knowledge and confidence turn into a Master Certified technician that others depend on every day. I enjoy seeing the light bulbs in minds turn on. Sometimes that process starts with a yellow glow that slowly brightens over time. Other times it is as instantaneous as throwing a switch. Both methods lead to a productive member of society that has the ability to provide for themselves and their loved ones while keeping our society’s transportation sector moving.
What is the best part about being an SCC faculty member?SCC really is a great place to work. On the Milford Campus our faculty and staff really do work together with the best interests of our students and their current or future employers in mind. I have had great support in my pursuit of further education and continuing professional development. When I tell my supervisor that I need to go to a class so I can share some new technology with my students, we find a way to make it happen.
What has been your proudest moment as an instructor?I have been blessed with several recognitions in my time at SCC. A few that come to mind are: Achieving General Motors World Class Technician status in 2007, the Milford Campus Outstanding Teacher Award in 2012 and the International Association of General Motors ASEP Technical Instructor Award of Merit in 2013. I appreciate the recognition from each of these awards. The “proudest moments” of my time as in instructor, though, are when I visit my current students at their dealerships and have an opportunity to talk with an ASEP graduate of a few years ago. To see that their skill set has paid for their wedding, baby, house, food, transportation. To see that their employer wouldn’t dream of trying to get along without them. That they have a reputation as an honest, hard-working, professional that will get the job done and then ask for the next assignment. Every time that happens, I know that what I do matters.
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching?My hands stay busy keeping the cars of my family and friends on the road. I have two young adult children who keep me busy going to this and that. My beautiful wife, Joanna, and I love to go for rides on our motorcycle (often times chasing the kids I just mentioned). Target practice with rifles and pistols is another of my favorite pastimes.
What would students be surprised to know about you?My favorite move of all time is “The World’s Fastest Indian.”