Tomorrow’s Technician and B’laster are searching for automotive technology instructors who think outside of the toolbox with the first-ever “B’laster Instructor of the Year” program. Each month, we will share an automotive instructor’s story who is in the running to be named the B’laster Instructor of the Year winner in May 2019. Instructors can enter the B’laster Instructor of the Year program at TomorrowsTechnician.com/instructor-of-the-year.
Our fifth finalist shares why he returned to the schools to teach the next generation of techs. And, how working on hot rods brings a sense of pride, and career readiness, to his students. Pat Mckibbin has been the auto collision instructor at Metropolitan Community College for the last 13 Years. He teaches all aspects of collision repair, refinish, automotive welding, estimating and the I-Car Pro level student series. Mckibbin grew up in the car business, hanging out at his father’s auto repair shop. He started his career at a car dealership as a car porter and worked his way into the body shop. He spent the next 15 years working in several shops as a collision repair technician, painter, frame repair, estimator and shop manager. Mckibbin decided to go into education after noticing there was a growing need for qualified technicians in the field. He is passionate about street rods, motorcycles and restoration projects. He is I-Car Platinum Certified and an ASE Master Collision technician.
Words by Pat Mckibbin
When I first started teaching I came in with the attitude that I was going to make a difference.
Having been in the local area most of my life, I have a good working relationship with shop owners in the metropolitan area. We have many shop owners and managers on our advisory board and they give tours to our students at many of the local shops. Shop owners and managers also stop by on occasion to visit with students in our program.
After teaching for a long time, I am now working with two instructors that are former students. I am constantly getting calls from local shops that are eager to hire our students. This year we held a “Best of Metro” competition and half of the judges and staff were former students. It is always a good feeling to walk into a shop see my former students working as a technician or office staff.
I’ve always had a passion for street rods and restoration, so we started a big project in the summer of 2014 to build a 1933 Ford Street Rod. As a community college, we don’t typically get the chance to work on a car of this caliber, but due to a private donation, we were able to build a car that can compete with some of the best!
The 1933 Ford started out as a bare rolling chassis. The chassis and the body were donated to us with the funds for the students to build it. The students did everything from paint and bodywork to jamming that big 5.0 Coyote motor between the frame rails. With the help of B’laster products, the car transformed into the “antifreeze green” street rod that it is today.
Auto Collision Technology and Automotive Technology students were instrumental in making the decisions for color, interior, engine and transmission. MCC faculty led the discussions and directed the students in their installation processes. The Precision Machine Technology and Welding Technology programs were called upon to design and create some special components for the Street Rod.
This project created many challenges for the students to overcome, including learning to work as a team on a given project. The body had to be removed and prepared for painting. The chassis and running gear were cleaned and prepped. The brakes, engine, automatic transmission and all components needed to be installed. Wiring the car was a major undertaking started at the South Omaha Campus and completed at the Applied Technology Center. The AC as well as the finishing touches were done at the ATC completing the project.
Our students are very proud of the work and it make us feel great when showing it at local car shows and talking about our students success. We use the vehicle for promotion of our programs and promotion of the college in general. The trades need valuable employees in the future and our industry is doing everything we can to keep up with the growing need. When the younger generation is able to set eyes on the “antifreeze green” street rod, their faces light up and they start to ask questions about our trade. People cannot believe that students built the car!
The hot rod was recently sold in Kansas City at the Mecum Auction where it gained a spot on national television. The hot rod has been a great experience for our students and what better way to recruit for the automotive world than showing off a sweet street rod.
As a program, we have come a long way in the last five years. Our curriculum is updated and our students have won the state Skills USA competition for non-structural repair over the last five years. Last year, our post-secondary student even placed second at nationals! Metropolitan Community College has been recognized in the industry as a great school for auto collision. The future of our program is looking pretty bright. While industry enrollment trends are down for a lot of schools, ours is still up and has more graduates than ever. In the future, we plan on expanding, adding technology classes for aluminum repair and aluminum welding. With the way cars are changing, who knows what the future holds.
Enter for the B’laster Instructor of the Year program at TomorrowsTechnician.com/instructor-of-the-year.