I’m the Lead Technical Training Instructor for the Stellantis Performance Institute’s New York training centre. As an instructor, my primary job is to teach automotive technicians how to be better technicians. In an ever-changing industry, we are always learning and growing. This means our technicians are never done training. As the lead instructor, this also means I am responsible for determining the training needs of our dealers and their technicians and developing a training schedule to accommodate those needs.
I started my professional automotive career 20 years ago as a co-op student in high school with a local dealership. This was a great experience for me, as it got my foot in the door to prove my skills.
When I graduated high school, I attended Niagara College for the Automotive Service Technician program at night, while working at the dealership during the day. As a lifelong car enthusiast, I was able to share my passion for the auto industry with customers, and apply the from night classes to my job in the day.
After graduating from Niagara College, and writing my Red Seal, I worked at several other dealerships in Ontario before moving to the United States. I was fortunate enough to be encouraged by my peers and applied to (then) FCA to be a technical training instructor.
When I was offered the position for New York, I was beside myself. After working for 17 years in the dealership life, I was going to be able to work for corporate, and for the company I wanted to work for at that!
The past few years have been quite a change. My hands aren’t as dirty, but I get to share more of my passion for the auto industry with my students more than I have ever been able to do. I leverage my years of experience doing what they do, to help teach in a way that makes sense to them.
Influences and inspiration
My grandfather had a rule: “If you’re going to drive a car then you should know how to fix it.” I may have taken that suggestion a bit too literally compared to most of my family.
Growing up around cars made it something I was always fascinated with. I’ve been very fortunate to make many great friends over the years who have encouraged me to grow. My husband has been one of my strongest advocates of watching my growth over the past few years as I switched from turning wrenches professionally to teaching techs to work smarter. I’m very thankful for all of their support.
Standout NC experince
At the time I was rather busy, so I didn’t have much time to participate in many of the extra-curricular activities at Niagara College, but I do have a few ‘isms’ that I remember from some of my instructors that I still use in my classes today.
I attended the Automotive Service Technician program at night at Niagara College while working at the dealership during the day. I liked the fact that I could apply what I had learned at night to my work during the day.
You must ask, “what’s in it for me?” In this case, you retain so much more when you know it applies directly to your day-to-day routine.
Words of wisdom
The automotive industry is an ever-changing world, with so many opportunities.
Right now, is a great example of that, as we see the markets change and new technologies come to life. We as technicians must learn to adapt with the industry.
As a technician, your job is to solve problems. This is as much a mental career as a physical one, and there is great pride in being able to diagnose a problem that others cannot.
A few years ago, I can remember meeting another female tech who was elated to meet me as she had never met any other female technicians. Since then I have seen and heard of far more in the industry, and have had the privilege of teaching or mentoring a few as well.
Twenty years ago, I started as a technician changing oil, and spark plugs. Now I run one of our largest training centres in the country. I had no idea that my path would lead me here, but I am thankful for every step. I look forward to seeing what the future brings.