The Instructor of the Year program recognizes the automotive instructors at high schools, vo-tech programs and community colleges who think outside of the toolbox. Meet the 2022-2023 B’laster Instructor of the Year Finalists!
April Finalist Jeremy Davis
Jeremy Davis, Automotive Instructor at the Hamilton Career and Technology Center in Westminster, SC is the April 2023 Instructor of the Year Finalist, Read his full story!
March Finalist, Robert Ballard
Robert Ballard, automotive instructor at Chapel Hill High School in Chapel Hill, NC, recalls that he loved working on cars since he could walk. Though he admits he wasn’t a great traditional student while he was in high school, an automotive collision repair class – and particularly his instructor, Mr. Perry – put him on the track for success. Watch Robert’s story now!
February Finalist, Rick Fortney
From working as an oil change boy at his local Cadillac dealership when he was a kid to driving a Cadillac CTS-V with 650 horsepower and about a million smiles per gallon, Rick Fortney says the automotive industry has given him everything he could ever dream of – and he can’t wait to give it all away. He approaches his job with the same passion he has for life and expects his class to have fun every single day if at all possible. “Here’s the deal: the more fun they’re having, they’re learning and they don’t realize it,” he says. Watch his story now.
January Finalist, Chad Groom
With a mom who is a teacher and a dad who spent 40 years wrenching professionally, it may be no surprise that Chadwick Groom, automotive instructor with Northeast Ohio’s Six District Compact has found his calling. After only 10 years as a teacher, Groom is already a seasoned pro with a genuine passion for his craft and an appreciation for the role he plays in assisting the next generation of automotive professionals. Watch his inspirational story by clicking the link below.
December 2022 Finalist, Dale McCraw
Like many young people who graduated from high school in the 1980s, Dale McCraw was identified as “college material.” Today, he’s proud to help kids look past whatever expectations society puts on them. With a passion for automotive repair, DID go to college to become a teacher, but found a different career path and ultimately became an educational RESOURCE and for the past 39 years has been helping to guide people into the automotive industry in numerous ways. Watch Dale’s story now.
November Finalist, Joe Hires
Raised by a full professor in farm power and ag mechanics, Joe Hires, Automotive Technology Instructor at Nichols Career Center, part of the Jefferson City School District in Jefferson City, MO, watched his father in the working, literally, in the field on people’s tractors. Doubting that he would ever become a teacher, he said a repair career sounded like a pretty good life – and it was, eventually leading him right back where he never dreamed he would be. Learn more about Joe Hires by clicking the link below.