Q&A With Grace
How did you decide to go into the automotive technician career?
I knew I liked working with my hands when I became an amateur boxer at 15 years old. I was so hungry and eager to become the best fighter at my gym. Everything about it helped me mentally, physically, and emotionally. I also dabbled in light repairs in apartments such as sheetrock, fixing toilets, and sinks, painting, and occasional plumbing. When I was in my last year of high school my sister started attending APEX. She was taking classes to learn how to fix her own car in hopes of making a career out of it. I remember her coming home one evening dressed in her Dickies coveralls with her boots and massive textbook. I started looking through her textbook and I told myself I wanted to do the same thing. My sister planted the seed, and I took off and ran with it.
What education and training did you complete before starting your job?
I attended Bronx Community College, where I received my associate degree in Automotive Technology/Applied Sciences. I was fortunate to have incredibly supportive professors who helped me along the way. A year before graduation one of my professors helped me get an internship at an independent repair shop. I gained my hands-on experience there. Once I graduated from Bronx Community College, I was recommended by one of my professors to join an OEM program. I went through about three interviews before I was accepted and hired by my dealership. The OEM program was 6 months long. I worked two weeks in the shop at my dealer and then two weeks at the training facility. Once I graduated from the training program, I became a full-time technician at my dealer. I have been working for my dealer for 13 years, and now I am a Master Level Technician and a Master High Voltage Specialist.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
My favorite thing about my job is that I get to fix cars. The satisfaction I get from fixing a car that came in with an issue and left fixed is so rewarding. Being able to diagnose and fix cars that are a pain to fix is my favorite. I also love working on a big job that no one in my shop has done yet. I also enjoy helping my fellow co-workers when they are stuck on a certain job. I absolutely love what I do.
What is the one thing you think younger students should know if they want to be a technician?
For the students in younger generations who want to become a technician should know a lot about diagnosing and electrical work. All cars are leaning more towards 48v systems, semi-hybrids, hybrids and full electric. This job is so much FUN!
What does a typical workday look like for you?
I usually start my day by getting to work at least two hours early. That is my preference because I like to clock in, eat my breakfast, drink my coffee, and go over all the cars I have under my name. I check any headquarter cases I may have for responses or guidelines for problem cars. I checked to see what parts arrived. I also get started on any cars I may have left over from the day before, so I can get a head start and ask for more work.
The end of the workday also depends on how much work I have. If I made any upsells, I am going to stay late to get those cars done. If I have a big job, I will continue working until my body says enough. Some work nights are long work nights.
After work activities depend on what time I leave work. If I leave work on time, I usually just go pick up my dog and go home. If I am not super beat from work, I will work out or go to the boxing gym and train. I also might be going to Bronx Community College where I teach the hands-on lab portion of the automotive technology classes.