Brendan Rucks is an 11th grade student at the Lackawanna County Career Technology Center in Scranton Pennsylvania. While in the program, Brendan works at a local Ford dealership. Brendan is also credited for his continued positive attitude in the classroom.
What inspired you to take automotive classes?
That’s an interesting question, because in my family, no one has ever had an automotive background. For me personally, it all started with building model cars, and then I started subscribing to car magazines. From there, I then learned about the Career Tech Center, so I told myself, “You know what? You might as well learn some more about cars.” It all seemed to fit into place, I would say.
Tell us about your experience in the FORD ACE program and how that lead to your job today.
It was a fun program. It was all online, which made it easy. I was able to do it whenever I wanted to. I learned a lot about the types of cars and systems that Ford uses. I also learned some stuff that I’ve already learned before, but I did learn a lot of new stuff about transmissions and the hybrid systems too, and all the new technologies that have been introduced in this industry.
How have you been able to manage both school and work?
For me personally, it has been very easy. I go straight from class to work, so it makes it very convenient. I don’t really have much else going on, so it makes it easy to just to do the work, and it’s fun as well.
What was it like receiving a silver medal at this year’s SkillsUSA competition?
It was surprising because there were a lot of competitors there. It was nice just putting all the stuff you’ve practiced, all the motions, into an actual scenario where you could diagnose a vehicle. Then to be rewarded with second place, that was a very rewarding experience.
Your instructor mentioned you’re taking a college level propane and natural gas course; do you have any highlights to share from the experience?
It has been a great insight into the many other industries out there. It’s interesting because it’s totally different than the automotive industry. I want to say it’s simpler in a sense, and the experience is great. It’s another opportunity to be in the hands-on industry, which is always something I look forward to.
What are your plans for the future?
That’s a great question. At the moment, I don’t have a set plan. There’s just so many opportunities out there. I’m thinking heavily on the P&G side of things. But again, on the automotive side, there’s just so many different options, so I’m going to have to keep thinking about that.
Brendan’s instructor Bryan Peck says, He is literally just like a sponge. There’s nothing that you can throw at him that he doesn’t complete. The fact that he completed all four trainings, incredible. That’s 88 certificates, and he’s only a junior. Brendan’s very modest. He doesn’t look for any kind of recognition for any of this stuff. That’s why I have to really push him to do these things because otherwise he wouldn’t reach out for it.
I think he’s got a bright future ahead of him. He’s shown a lot of interest in possibly engineering or something along those lines in the automotive industry. We’re just really proud of him here, and he’s still got another year to go. He’s doing a great job.