VIP Tires & Service ‘Oil Changes For Education’ Program Donates More Than $20K To 5 New England School Districts

Rochester, New Hampshire – left to right:  Tyler Lynn – VIP Service Manager, Kyle Repucci – Superintendent of Schools, SAU-54 Rochester, New Hampshire, Sandie MacDonald – Assistant Superintendent, SAU-54 Rochester, New Hampshire, Allyn Belair – VIP Market Manager

VIP Tires & Service, a full-service automotive repair, maintenance and tire shop with 59 locations across New England, announced recently that it has donated $20,720 to five school districts in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. These donations were a result of the company’s Oil Changes for Education initiative, a program offering consumers $10 oil changes with 100% of the proceeds going to the local school systems. In advance of the holiday, school officials from the locations listed below were invited to their local VIP store to receive the donation.

  • Topsham, ME – $4,460
  • Westbrook, ME – $4,440
  • Lawrence, MA – $5,090
  • Gorham, NH – $2,690  
  • Rochester, NH – $3,860  

“It was wonderful to see so many people show up for an oil change to support the schools in the communities we serve,” said Tim Winkeler, president and CEO, VIP Tires & Service. “Being able to make these donations is meaningful to us. A huge thank you to everyone who participated and for thinking of us for their automotive needs.”

VIP’s Oil Changes for Education program ran from early September through mid-November at its five participating stores. To-date, VIP has raised $32,005 for school systems across New England. The funds are used by the schools in a variety of ways, including furthering curriculum needs and improving school activities.

“VIP Tires & Service plans to continue this program in the future,” continued Winkeler. “Supporting our local communities is part of our company culture and something all of our employees can get behind.”


Valvoline Launches First Hybrid-Specific Motor Oil

A new motor oil for the estimated 5 million hybrid vehicles on the road will be available in 2020 with the new Valvoline Hybrid Vehicle Full Synthetic motor oil.

Valvoline Hybrid synthetic motor oil
Valvoline is releasing a new hybrid vehicle full synthetic motor oil in 2020.

Valvoline Hybrid Vehicle Full Synthetic motor oil will meet the latest industry standards and will be sold in 5W-30 and 0W-20 grades, covering most hybrid models currently in use, including all common hybrid vehicles manufactured by Toyota, Honda and other auto manufacturers. According to the Toyota Motor North America November 2019 sales report, not only have overall hybrid sales increased 65.4% since November 2018, but Toyota division hybrid sales are up 68.4% for the same time period.

“Innovation is in our DNA, so we are constantly striving to develop new products and formulations that meet future consumer demand,” said Heidi Matheys, Valvoline chief marketing officer. “No matter your vehicle type, Valvoline has tested and proven products to help keep it performing at its best for the life of the vehicle.”

Hybrid engines share many similarities with traditional engines, but they also have unique challenges that fluids and lubricants must work to address. These include a hybrid engine’s constant engine start and stop, which can prevent warm up and peak performance. Low engine operating temperatures can create excess water vapor that dissolves into the oil resulting in sludge, corrosion and motor oil breakdown that can negatively impact fuel economy and engine life.

This announcement follows the brand’s recent launch of a product line specifically for electric vehicles.

“Valvoline’s pursuit of new solutions to new problems challenges our unique in-house Valvoline Engine Lab to create flexible formulas that are proven to extend engine life,” said Fran Lockwood, Valvoline chief technology officer. “Valvoline Hybrid Vehicle Full Synthetic motor oil contains a special blend of additives and superior antioxidants to provide the ultimate protection for hybrid engines.”


Auto Student And Capitol Tire & Auto Service Employee Wins Federated Car Care And Women In Auto Care Scholarships

Tabitha Harris, an automotive student and Capitol Tire & Auto Service employee in Dover, Delaware, was recently awarded academic scholarships from Federated Car Care and Women in Auto Care to pursue a career in automotive.

Women In Auto Care Scholarship Winner Tabitha Harris
Tabitha Harris accepts her $5,000 check as the 2019 Women in Auto Care Scholarship winner at AAPEX.

A graduate of Sussex Technical High School in Georgetown, Delaware, Harris studied in the school’s automotive technical program and also worked at Capitol Tire & Auto Service during her senior year. She is attending University of Northwestern Ohio and plans to major in diesel technology.

Harris was awarded honored for her accomplishments during the 2019 Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo‎ (AAPEX) in Las Vegas at the annual Women in Auto Care reception.

“We congratulate Tabitha on these tremendous achievements and wish her great success as she continues her education and her automotive career,” said John Marcum, director of marketing of Federated Auto Parts. “We are proud to have Capitol Tire & Auto Service as a Federated Car Care member and are delighted that scholarships from Federated Car Care and Women in Auto Care will help Tabitha advance her automotive education.”


Tech Garage Season Six Returns With Chipola Auto Instructor Host

Tech Garage season 6 is returning to Motortrend TV in the New Year with its ASE master-certified instructor and host John Gardner.

Tech Garage Host John Gardner
Chipola College Automotive instructor John Gardner has signed on for season 6 of the television show, Tech Garage, presented by airing on MotorTrend TV.

Gardner of Chipola College will continue to share his educational tips on automotive systems along with Bryan Gregory’s DIY driveway tips.

“It’s amazing and humbling to look back at 2015 when I started the show at Chipola College,” said Gardner. “I never thought it would grow into what it is today. Teaching and training on the automotive systems seemed pretty boring to me, but I guess it intrigued everybody. They wanted to know how and why the systems worked along with the detailed diagnosis and repairs. No other show was really covering in-depth like we did. Then in season two Bryan Gregory joined us with a DIY driveway aspect, further strengthening the show.”

The educational television show Tech Garage is returning for season 6 on Jan. 4, 2019, on Motor Trend TV network, formerly Velocity.

“It’s a win-win for the automotive industry and helps our local panhandle area with economic development,” added Gardner. “I am excited about the new season more than ever and I’m grateful to so many people who make this happen.”


New CP7755 Offers Accurate Power Control and Greater Ergonomics

With its CP7755 series of premium half-inch impact wrenches, Chicago Pneumatic now offers a unique answer to the needs of both tire-changing and general mechanics. Developed in response to an in-depth usage study, the CP7755 series combines accurate power control with greater ergonomics and comfort.

“Our latest unique solution enables professionals to set and finely adjust power and speed quickly and simply, to suit each specific vehicle type and application,” says Antoine Tourneux, Chicago Pneumatic’s product marketing manager for vehicle service – air tools. “Along with better power control, these innovative pneumatic tools bring other improvements to users’ daily operations through their highly maneuverable and comfortable design.”

A choice of four models is available to meet different preferences and budgets. All versions feature the new patent-pending power selection system, described by Chicago Pneumatic as the best and most adjustable power control for pneumatic tools. Power can be set to 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50 or 100 percent of the tool’s maximum torque, for a precise match with each job’s requirements.

The patented Air Flex Mini air inlet feature is integrated into two models: CP7755 Air Flex Mini and CP7755-2 Air Flex Mini. It provides freedom of movement and turns any rigid hose into a flexible one, thanks to a multi-axis air connection swivel. This effort-saving innovation ensures the hose is always in the ideal position and gives easier access to hard-to-reach areas.

Ease of use is further enhanced by a flat-topped body shape, ensuring that when the tool is placed on the floor its hose extends upward. The operator can then conveniently pick it up by the hose without having to bend. Locating the regulator button in a recess is another user-friendly touch, as it helps avoid accidental activation if the tool is dropped.

Lightweight, compact construction and low levels of vibration add to the high-comfort appeal of the new wrenches. Among competitors in the same power class, CP7755 series impact wrenches have the top power-to-weight ratio. This is achieved by a specification that includes low-weight components like a composite motor housing, magnesium clutch housing and aluminum regulator.

Tire-changing applications for CP7755 series impact wrenches include motorbikes, passenger cars, pickup trucks, vans and SUVs. General mechanics will find them useful for workshop and roadside assistance tasks on the same range of light vehicles, as well as medium- and heavy-duty trucks and tractor trailers, among other big vehicles used in diverse sectors such as agriculture, marine, mining and construction. 

“As operators in garage trials have highlighted, the CP7755 series is very easy to work with and it puts an end to guessing on power levels,” Antoine Tourneux concludes. “You can now be sure of the right torque for every job, from a tool that’s a pleasure to operate. Final torque level should always, of course, be reached using a manual torque wrench. Our new CP7755 series brings you the accessibility and maneuverability you want with the power you need.”

For more information, visit


Babcox Media Promotes New President And Executive Vice President

Greg Cira, Mike Maleski

Babcox Media Inc., the parent company of Tomorrow’s Technician, is pleased to announce that Greg Cira has been appointed president.

Cira is a 27-year veteran of the company. He joined Babcox Media in 1992 and has held a variety of roles including group publisher, chief financial officer and vice president, with responsibility for general operations, finance, acquisitions, revenue and product strategy. In his new role, he’ll oversee all business operations. 

Additionally, Mike Maleski has been promoted to executive vice president, also effective immediately.  

Joining the company in 2016, Maleski learned the business by working within the automotive service business division before assuming the role of group publisher – customer solutions, where he’s been credited with implementing a clear growth and innovation strategy. With his new appointment, he’ll remain focused on the development of multi-media solutions to serve the needs of Babcox clients. 

“Many things are needed for organizations to thrive, but success ultimately starts with leadership. These appointments reflect the value and contributions that Greg and Mike bring to our business. Both have a proven history of achieving results while reinforcing our cultural values,” commented Bill Babcox, CEO. “Together, we will continue to deliver on the strategic priorities to serve the needs of our readers and advertisers.” 

Bill Babcox will remain CEO and chairman of the board of Babcox Media. 


TechForce Announces 2019 Techs Rock People’s Choice Grand Prize Winner

TechForce Foundation announced Melina Algier, a service technician at Farnsworth Chevrolet in Canandaigua, New York, has been named the 2019 People’s Choice Grand Prize Winner of its second annual Techs Rock Awards.

The Techs Rock Awards recognize working technicians who are striving to mentor and inspire the next generation of technicians, bringing excellence to their workplaces and communities, and demonstrating passion and commitment to the profession.

Algier prevailed over four other finalists who competed in an online, people’s choice vote in which more than 4,000 votes were cast. In addition to the TechForce $1,000 tool voucher sponsored by Snap-on that she received for winning Rookie of the Year, Melina will receive roundtrip airfare and hotel accommodations to Scottsdale, Arizona to enjoy Arizona Auto Week 2020 and be honored at the annual TechForce Foundation Summit.

“I have dedicated myself to proving that women can work in the automotive industry and that a young adult could have the strength and ability to learn hands-on through their peers and an open understanding mind,” said Algier “Given the opportunity GM gave me, I’ve been able to move up to line tech in under a year. They’ve given me every resource I need to move up such as: training, special tools, resources and a friendly environment.”

“The fact that the public chose Melina as it Grand Prize Winner shows that attitudes about women techs are changing as they are being recognized for their capable contributions. She sets a great example for others to follow,” states Jennifer Maher, executive director of TechForce Foundation.

About Melina from her nomination: “Melina joined the shop a year and a half ago with only one year experience as a lube tech at an establishment that told her that was all she could do because she was a girl. As the first female technician in our dealership, she quickly graduated from maintenance work to a line technician. In 12 months she has completed over 70 GM certified courses and is now ready to start testing for ASE certifications. Melina now trains new incoming students and interns… She simply gets along with everyone. Mel has a great ability to work smarter, not stronger. She is very ingenious in using tools and research to make heavy jobs easier. She has a tremendous work ethic, arrives on time every day, and is eager to listen and learn from senior technicians. On days with heavy snow, Melina is the first to work and helps clear snow from sidewalks and customers’ cars. Melina has broken a lot of stereotypes around the industry being only for men. She is a wonderful example of dedication and pursuing the career that you want, not the one others think you should have…”

More than 280 working techs nationwide were nominated for one of five categories. TechForce Foundation’s panel of industry judges selected category winners who then competed in a national online vote for Peoples’ Choice Grand Prize Winner. Category judges included Bogi Lateiner, Bogi’s Garage; Greg Rintala, Snap-on Tools; Lyn St. James, race car driver; Tommy and Stephanie Pike, Tommy Pike Customs; and Julia Landauer, NASCAR driver. Category winners were:

  • Pay It Forward – Jason Katzenberger, Kunes Country Ford in Delavan, Wisconsin
  • Rookie of the Year – Melina Algier, Farnsworth Chevrolet in Canandaigua, New York
  • Die Hard Tech – Christopher Owen,M. Burritt Motors in Oswego, New York
  • Outstanding Mentor – Michael Owens, Fullerton Ford in Somerville, New Jersey
  • Barrier Buster – Samantha Britton, Billy Howell Lincoln Ford in Cumming, Georgia

“It’s been amazing to see the energy, enthusiasm and engagement the industry’s had for the Techs Rock Awards,” shares Julia Landauer, participating judge and NASCAR race car driver. “This award isn’t about how fast they can turn a wrench or their technical achievements, but about giving back, being involved in the lives of future techs, and helping others who want to follow in their steps succeed.”

To learn more about the 2019 Techs Rock Awards and the other category winners, visit


Tomorrow’s Tech, Continental Surprise November Student Of The Month At Ohio Technical College

November Continental Student of the Month Vanessa Field with Ohio Technical College staff, Continental representatives and Tomorrow’s Tech editor. Photo by OTC.

Tomorrow’s Technician and technology company Continental surprised the November Student of the Month yesterday morning with a visit to her class at Ohio Technical College (OTC) in Cleveland, Ohio.

Vanessa Field, a soon-to-be February 2020 graduate of the automotive technology program at OTC, was honored with a custom plaque of her November Student of the Month feature as well as swag from Continental.

Continental also shared the ins and outs of their belts and hoses with Vanessa’s class, and opened the class up to an in-depth discussion on real-world situations technicians with face when servicing belts and hoses.

Vanessa with Continental’s Sue Deckard and Tom Lee.

Continental partnered with Tomorrow’s Tech in 2019 to recognize the top students pursuing automotive careers with the Student of the Month program. The program spotlights automotive students nominated by their instructors with a special article in Tomorrow’s Tech each month.

Eight students were selected and featured in a “Continental Student of the Month“ profile in Tomorrow’s Tech and Each “Continental Student of the Month” had their photo and a Q&A published in Tomorrow’s Tech and received a commemorative plaque for their achievement.

To learn more about the Continental Student of the Month program, visit


Rolling Meadows High School Instructor Named November Finalist For 2020 ‘B’laster Instructor Of The Year’

Tomorrow’s Technician and B’laster are once again looking for instructors who “think outside of the toolbox” with the second-annual “B’laster Instructor of the Year” program. Our November Finalist shares how teaching should always be about the students, and how he helps develop his students into self-sufficient techs with a drift car project. 

Words by Joel Dufkis

I’ve been working on cars for as long as I can remember. My grandfather owned a service station in Chicago and it almost feels like it’s in my blood. My father taught me a lot about working on cars along with a host of other skills that really helped me to become confident in my skill set. In high school, my auto shop teacher Roger Basrak helped me hone my skills and was a huge influence on me. Little did I know that the lessons he taught me then would lead me to where I am now. 

After high school, I worked for the independent repair shop Stephens Automotive, where I worked as a technician under some of the best in the business. In 2007 I decided to change my career path and went into education. I’ve always enjoyed teaching people new things and when I really thought about it, I’d have the greatest impact helping students find their passion and hopefully setting them up for success later in life as an instructor. Fast forward to today and I’m in my 10th year of teaching and 8th year at Rolling Meadows High School.

My teaching philosophy is to create an atmosphere where the students know you’re there for them, that any issue from an automotive one to a personal one, that I’m there. I got into teaching for the students – it’s all about them and helping them further themselves in life. The day it stops being about the students is the day I’ll return back to the industry because it’s not fair to the students if you’re not 100% in it for them. 

I run my classes in some unique ways. In my advanced classes we do a lot of live work on staff vehicles. It’s a great opportunity for students to simulate a shop environment and really learn how to function as a team, and it allows them to work on a variety of vehicles with a variety of issues. 

In addition to live work on staff vehicles, for the last three years the student have been building a 1999 Mazda Miata AKA Mazdarati into a full blown pro-am drift car. This project started when the Miata was given to me by my brother-in-law. I saw it as an opportunity to build a drift car with my students and to teach them how to get into racing in a legal way and to show them how to build a car on a budget. This build started out very basic with them doing a bunch of safety items on the car and in the first event out I ended up hitting a wall and smashing up the front end. This was honestly one of the best things to happen as it allowed the student to learn how to do a lot of custom fabrication and welding. Last year we worked on improving the power of the vehicle by adding a custom-built turbo kit for the car along with upgrading the fuel system and installing a fully programmable ECU. Students designed and built the piping, and installed the whole kit and got the car running. 

Some of them would come to the track where they’d help read the data logs and fine-tune the tune on the car. Then this year was the big one where the students tore the whole car apart, removing everything from the chassis. They prepped the car for the full roll cage, separated the engine harness from the chassis harness and then built a whole new chassis harness from scratch. They repainted the engine bay and learned how to do bodywork on the car in preparation for a new coat of paint. There was literally no nut or bolt that was untouched on the car and it turned out amazing. The students did a fantastic job. It was so good that at the Tuner Galleria of the Chicago World of Wheels it won best Mazda. It has proven itself on the track by being a rock-solid car that has never had a major issue, that’s a testament to the build quality the students put into it. This project has benefited the students in multiple ways. They are able to build a project car without having to spend their own money, learn how to correctly build a car for use on the track by following rule books to ensure the car fits into the class, and most of all, it gave them confidence and pride. The students were a bit scared to start this project for fear of failure or screwing up but as they put in more time and work they were able to overcome these fears and really progress their skills. They also take tremendous pride in the work they have done and it’s given them a new sense of confidence that will allow them to become better technicians in the end. 

I’ve also in the last year founded the Automotive Technology Instructor Network (ATIN) as a way to connect automotive instructors from around the nation. As automotive instructors especially in the high school setting we are typically the only teacher in our school or sometimes even district, so this group allows connections to be made so we can share ideas, labs or just ask questions to our peers that we typically wouldn’t have known. With the help of Texas shop owner Jeff Buckley, we have also gotten shops involved so they can connect with schools in their area to hopefully facilitate internships and to join the advisory boards of the local schools. You can find us on our Facebook group by searching for Automotive Technology Instructor Network.

Being named a B’laster Instructor of the Year finalist means a lot to me and my program. I’ve worked hard to create a great program that will set students up for success in the future and this helps prove that I’m on the right track. I’m incredibly grateful to the people who have nominated me, who see the hard work I’ve put into my program day in and day out.

You can follow along with Rolling Meadows High School’s drift car project on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook at @RMHSauto.

Bio: Joel Dufkis is the automotive technology instructor at Rolling Meadows High School. He has been teaching automotive technology for 10 years and worked in the automotive industry for 7 years prior to teaching. Dufkis has a bachelor’s degree from Illinois State University in Technology Education and a master’s degree from Loyola University in English Language Learning. He is an ASE Certified Master Technician who was worked in both the automotive repair and high-performance fields. In 2016-2017 he was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Education Award from District 214.

Career School of the Year News

Former School Of The Year Instructor Roxanne Amiot Named 2019 SEMA-NACAT Award Winner

Roxanne Amiot, center, auto technology instructor at Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, received the 2019 SEMA-NACAT Education Award for her use of aftermarket technology in her classroom. Bullard-Havens was named the Tomorrow’s Technician School of the Year in 2018.

Roxanne Amiot, auto technology instructor at Bullard-Havens Technical High School in Bridgeport, Connecticut, received the 2019 SEMA-NACAT Education Award during the Education Partners Breakfast at the 2019 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Bullard-Havens was named the Tomorrow’s Technician 2018 School of the Year, sponsored by WIX Filters and O’Reilly Auto Parts, under Amiot’s direction.

The award, which encourages education in the automotive aftermarket industry, recognizes instructors who teach automotive-related curricula and demonstrate positive and innovative use of aftermarket technology in their classrooms.

Amiot, who is also the head of the Automotive Technology Department at Bullard-Havens Technical High School, was selected from a very competitive field that included applicants from the U.S. and Canada.

“We are pleased to present Amiot with an award that recognizes the daily impact made in the classroom and her true passion for automotive,” said Zane Clark, SEMA senior director of education. “Her dedication to students is essential to fostering an exciting future for our aftermarket industry.”

Amiot, who worked in the automotive industry before teaching in 1988, is an alumni of the award-winning program that she now oversees. The Bullard-Havens Technical High School automotive program has been recognized for its live production repair garage, where aftermarket parts are used in community projects throughout the year. Students are prepared for careers in the automotive industry through job shadowing, community work-based opportunities, as well as interview days that include automotive aftermarket businesses such as NAPA, Fed Mogul, O’Reillys and Pep boys.

“Being recognized nationally by SEMA and NACAT brings positive attention and credibility to the work we do in our automotive technology repair program,” said Amiot. “With that comes support from the industry and the state to keep our programs open and financially funded so that we can continue to do what we do best, build skilled workers for our automotive industry.”  

Amiot is an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Master Certified Technician with L1 and G1 certifications. Her automotive technology is accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF) and Automotive Youth Educational Systems.

As part of the award, Amiot will also receive a complimentary registration to NACAT and $500 towards travel to attend the 2020 NACAT Conference and Expo in Cincinnati, Ohio.  

In addition to partnering with NACAT to recognize educators who support the automotive education of students, SEMA’s Educational Program includes Scholarship & Loan Forgiveness, SEMA Show Student Programs and an annual High School Vehicle Build Program.

To learn more about the SEMA-NACAT Award or SEMA’s Educational Programs, visit