This article is part of an ongoing series to highlight and promote the technician career — demonstrating to kids, parents, and teachers how becoming a technician is a rewarding career path that can be lucrative and open the door to many opportunities within the industry. Are you a technician who would like to be spotlighted? Sign up!
Technician Spotlight: Paul B.
Name: Paul B.
Job Title: Lead Master Technician
Industry Experience: 13 Years
How did you get started in the automotive industry?
I grew up with family members that restored cars. After I graduated high school, I decided to go the traditional college route and it didn’t quite go the way I planned. I ended up going to tech school and did really well. I graduated college during the wintertime, so it was more difficult for me to find a job in a shop. I worked for a local parts distribution company, and in the summer I would work as a greens keeper at a golf course where I would help with maintenance of equipment. Finally, an opportunity with the company I’m currently at came up and I started working there full time as a technician.
What was your driving factor to work in the automotive industry?
It honestly started out as a hobby, and I enjoy doing it and constantly being able to learn. The industry has excelled so much into a computer technology direction and that has always been an interest of mine. I love to work with my hands. Disassembling and reassembling cars has always interested me. I love problem-solving and the sense of accomplishment you get when you solve a difficult problem.
Do you want to get more involved with diagnostics or stay mechanical?
As time went on, I migrated pretty quickly to computer technology. We specifically set up a shop for ADAS systems, and I primarily focus on electrical diagnostics, programming, and calibration. Due to this new focus, I tend to not be very dirty at the end of the day anymore.
What is your favorite part about being a technician?
My favorite part is how fast things are changing within the industry and how much you learn. Technicians have to be dedicated to learning new skills and material. Computers are a huge trend right now, but I believe electrification will become the next big trend. Being able to adapt and welcome the changes in the industry has been really exciting. We’ve definitely seen a very rapid change in the last five years.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone looking to enter the industry?
The best advice I have is to focus on the electrical and computer side of things. That is definitely how you’re going to maintain relevance in the industry. It’s tough to say how the future is going to be, but programming may become a big part. Having a well-rounded background in technology is going to be huge for future technicians.
How does your shop train you on the advancements of technology?
It’s a mixture of self-teaching and external training, if it is available. For a lot of the new advancements, there isn’t training quite yet. You have to have the ability to read through factory service information and get a good understanding of how the system works.
How can we educate future technicians?
When people are developing the curriculum, it’s hard for them to know exactly what to include because the industry changes so quickly. It can also be hard for schools to get funding for the necessary equipment that is needed. Even if they started now, by the time the training rolls out, you’ve already blown past certain skills and it becomes a hard game of catch up. When I’m talking with the guys at the shop that are going to school now, there isn’t a whole lot of relevance to what we’re doing. There is too much dedication to technology that won’t serve you in the shop.
What are the greatest skills you’ve learned as a technician?
Being able to read and comprehend large amounts of information is huge. People underestimate how much reading comprehension you need to have as a technician. The stigma of an uneducated mechanic doesn’t apply anymore. People coming into the industry need to be aware that you have to bring a fair amount of intelligence or you’ll struggle.
What is your dream car?
McLaren 720S, I’m a big fan of turbo cars.
Any final thoughts?
I think it’s great WrenchWay is emphasizing the industry and helping to get young people involved.