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: Wayne B.
Name: Wayne B.
Job Title: Training Manager
Industry Experience: 31 years
How did you get started in the automotive industry?
My dad owned a specialty shop where he worked on ‘55, ‘56, and ‘57 thunderbirds. He would restore them and take in old cars that needed maintenance or repairs. I have worked on cars with him since I was 12- or 13-years-old. When I went into high school, I took an auto mechanics program for two years that was only available to juniors and seniors. When I graduated high school, I went to UTI to get a certificate to be a technician. I was a technician for a few years, and then became a service advisor. What led me to be a service advisor is when I was a technician, the current service advisors would always bring customers over to talk to me to explain what was wrong with their cars. Management saw this was a strength of mine, and they offered me a service advisor position. Being a service advisor eventually led me to where I am today as a training manager.
Did you ever have a passion to someday own your dad’s shop?
I actually didn’t. He dealt with old vehicles, and I wanted to do modern vehicles. Now, oddly enough, I’ll pick up old cars and motorcycles to restore and sell them. I don’t make a living out of it. It’s more just for fun and something I love to do. I believe once you’re a technician you’ll always be a technician. I’ve never sold any of my tools. I still have my tool box, skill set it took to be a technician, and I still use all of that today.
What was your favorite part of being a technician?
I always took pride in making sure the customer’s car was fixed right the first time, so they didn’t have to come back a second time to get the same thing fixed. I took a lot of time to make sure the car was fixed properly regardless of how tough it could be. Not every customer is happy to be in the service department. I would confront the people that were the most upset first to see if I could make them happy and work to make them a lifetime customer.
What are the greatest skills you learned as a technician?
Listening. If you can’t listen to what’s going on, you can’t fix a problem. Not just as a technician, but also as a service advisor and manager. It also taught me how to read people. Everything I’ve done since high school has been customer-facing. Again, you have to listen to what they are saying. If they have something going on and you can’t understand what it is, you’re not going to be able to fix it. You have to be able to adapt. For example, I traveled across the country to train, and you have to change your approach based on the location you are in. People are all different, and you have to adapt to the way they do things.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone looking to enter the industry?
Don’t quit. There’s been times when I’ve wanted to make a change, and it just doesn’t work out. Once you’re in the car business you’re always in the car business. Don’t think the grass is always greener on the other side. I think if I went back and did it all over again, I would still be back in the same place I started. You build up a reputation, business, and customers.
What kept you motivated to stay in the industry?
I think my training and working with my dad for so long is what kept me going. I had a passion for cars and motorcycles. I’ve fixed my neighbors’ cars and built a motorcycle for myself. I’ve just always had a passion for it and love it. I’m very mechanical-minded. I really like taking everything apart and figuring out what’s wrong. Sometimes it’s grossly apparent, and sometimes it’s not apparent at all, but the fun is in figuring out the problem. This industry has definitely taken me on a different path than I thought, but I wouldn’t change a thing, and I love the path it’s taken me.