Motorhead Garage is an established series that has been airing since 2010. Gardner and co-host Brian Lohnes will take over the reins of the program beginning Sunday, July 3, at 8:30 a.m. “It was time to revitalize the look of the program, without sacrificing the quality and knowledge of the show. John and Brian fit the need perfectly,” said Tom Gee, executive producer. Gardner will be most familiar as the host of the popular educational series Tech Garage on Velocity. Brian Lohnes is best known as one of the staff announcers of the NHRA drag racing series.
The show will feature location shoots with manufacturers in California and Texas, as well as shows produced in-studio in Johnson City, Tennessee. Gardner says, “I am excited about joining Motorhead Garage. The show will bring positive attention to the college and to our community.”
Gardner’s supervisor at Chipola, Darwin Gilmore, dean of Workforce and Economic Development, says, “John is an excellent teacher and a great ambassador for the college. Through his connections with automotive manufacturers, our students have access to the latest parts and supplies. These partnerships also have the potential to drive economic development to our area.”
Gardner is no stranger to the camera. Since 2013, he and fellow automotive instructor Chase Vlieg, have been the national faces for Advance Auto Parts’ team member video training series used by thousands of employees. Gardner says, “I want to thank the college and our Advisory committee for supporting me in this project. I am very lucky to have so many friends who have helped me. Chase Vlieg has been my right hand man throughout this whole process.”
Exposure from the Advance deal led Gardner to a starring role in the automotive how-to show, “Tech Garage,” on Discovery’s Velocity Channel. All episodes of the program were filmed in the Chipola Automotive shop. Season 2 of Tech Garage has been running since January, 2016.
In addition to his television work, Gardner also has gained state and national attention for his classroom teaching. He was named Florida College System Professor of the Year by the Association of Florida Colleges in November, 2015. Thousands of teachers from all 28 colleges in the System were eligible to enter the competition.
Gardner began teaching at Chipola in 2000 with only seven students. Some 16 years later, his classes are full and his automotive lessons reach millions of people each week. Gardner says his “edutainment” teaching philosophy is the key. Edutainment includes content that is primarily educational, but also has entertainment value. Gardner says edutainment helps engage learners, keeps interest high, and delivers technical and complex information through multimedia techniques used in television. He incorporates learning modules, videos and hands-on practice in all lesson plans to appeal to various learning styles.
The Chipola Automotive Technology program utilizes an industry-based curriculum in partnership with local shops and an advisory committee to provide students with the competitive edge in the high-tech training environment. The program has excellent job placement rates and is accredited by The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). Chipola has Master NATEF Certification in all areas, and Chipola students have an 85% pass rate on first attempts on (ASE) exams.
Gardner can now be seen on television year-round as co-host of Tech Garage which airs in quarters 1 and 2, and now as co-host of Motorhead Garage airing in quarters 3 and 4.