Techs Rock Candidate Profiles - Collision, Restoration and Welding

Techs Rock Candidate Profiles – Collision, Restoration & Welding

Today's profiles highlight passionate people who bring vehicles back to life.

TechForce Foundation’s Techs Rock Awards is an awards program recognizing both technical students’ and professional technicians’ commitment to the profession. Honorees serve as true role models, inspiring the next generation and fueling the pipeline of future technicians.

Today we present profiles of the Future Technician and Working Technician finalists in the Collision, Restoration and Welding category.

The public is invited to meet the Finalists and vote for the Future Tech and Working Tech Grand Prize Winners now until February 28th at TechForce.org/TechsRock.

FUTURE TECHNICIAN

Madysen Smith, Dauphin County Technical School, Harrisburg, PA

Who is Madysen?

Madysen is a high school senior studying collision repair at Dauphin County Technical School. She is in her second year of a work-based learning program and is employed part-time at a local autobody shop.

Madysen says, “I take pride in my work in the collision industry and strive to continue improving my work. After graduation, I plan to become a full-time paint technician and further my education as I am constantly looking to improve my skills.”

Why Madysen was nominated:

Her collision repair instructor nominated Madysen for the Techs Rock Awards.

Her instructor writes, “Madysen works tirelessly to be the best. Her goal is to be a refinish technician (painter) one day. She trains very hard and works harder. Her accomplishments through SkillsUSA are an example of that.

Madysen has always been a hard worker from the time she started in the collision repair program. Mady even came into school on days she did not have to. This shows me her dedication to the work, training, and automotive industry.”

Madysen’s accomplishments:

Madysen has earned straight A’s in her shop class for the past four years. During her junior year, she made it to the SkillsUSA Championships for Automotive Refinishing. She was a member of the first all-female finalists slate in competition history, and ultimately placed third in the nation. She was only 12 points away from first.

Madysen was selected to interview for WorldSkills to represent the United States in France. While she was not selected for Lyon 2024, Madysen continues to work hard to place first at SkillsUSA Nationals this year. It is her goal to compete at the next WorldSkills event.

Her instructor notes, “[Madysen] has made great improvements since starting her journey. Recently, she worked on a customer vehicle where she replaced the entire trunk floor, rear body panel, and lower rails. As this does not seem like a lot, she did do the job on her own, and the combined estimated time for the repairs was over 30 hours.”

Making a positive impact:

Madysen’s first year of her collision repair program was hybrid due to Covid. During that year, the collision program participated in a partnership where students helped out the local auto museum. Madysen was the only 9th grader that year to participate.

She advocates for nontraditional students to pursue career and technical education. Madysen also supports her school’s collision repair program by volunteering with the local Advisory Committee and on program Expo days.

Kevin Walker, Caliber Collision, Philadelphia, PA

Who is Kevin?

Kevin is a 20+ year industry veteran and TAP (Technician Apprentice Program) HUB training manager with Caliber Collision in Philadephia, PA.

Why Kevin was nominated:

A longtime colleague at Caliber Collision nominated Kevin for the Techs Rock Awards.

The nominator writes, “I have worked with Kevin for 20 years. First at an Auto Body Company (an 11-shop MSO in the Philadelphia region), then another company after our first auto body company was acquired, and finally, at our current company after another merger.”

A passion for mentorship:

Before being in this role, Kevin was always passionate about giving back to the industry by transferring his knowledge to future technicians.

In Kevin’s words, “What might set me apart from the group and make me worthy of this award is my level of dedication to my shop, my company, and my students. As an apprentice trainer, it is my mission to prepare each student for the challenges they will encounter as they enter this industry and provide them with an additional avenue of support throughout their career. I initially did so as a solo flat-rate technician and later as an apprentice team lead.

During my time with Caliber Collision, I achieved a ‘Best in Tech’ award five times consecutively before being offered a chance to have an official position as a Technician Apprentice Program hub manager\/trainer. Each technician who has graduated from Caliber’s TAP program can still reach out to me, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing, if they need advice.”

Kevin’s accomplishments:

Kevin currently trains 4-5 apprentices at a time and has graduated 8+ apprentices since entering the role three years ago.

Kevin was one of the three original technicians who assisted in creating Caliber Collision’s TAP program as one of the TAP pilots.

Kevin said, “I am entering my 21st year in the industry, during which I’ve been a platinum-certified individual for nearly the entire journey and mentored nearly two dozen [professionals] who have gone on to have outstanding careers as body and frame techs. Whether it be late-night welding classes or weekend technical support, my passion and my life have been this industry and the community to which we provide our service.”

Making a positive impact:

Kevin is also an I-CAR instructor. He not only trains and certifies Caliber Collision Teammates but also trains technicians from other collision repair companies. In his nominator’s words, Kevin “is constantly giving back to the industry.”

He not only trains and graduates apprentices; Kevin maintains a relationship with these Teammates after they are deployed into the centers surrounding the TAP Hub, where Kevin conducts their training. This ensures these new teammates are comfortable in their new center and remain productive members of the collision repair industry.

Kevin’s nominator writes, “Kevin has always worked with a ‘helper,’ and many have become productive standalone technicians in the industry. Kevin’s attitude and energy embody everything the industry needs to keep this lucrative career choice in front of future collision repair candidates.”

Kevin also says, “Whether industry-related or not. I continue to increase my efforts of giving back to the industry by becoming an I-car instructor, joining the advisory board of the technical school from which I graduated, and speaking at the nearby technical schools to aid and inform the next generation of technicians.”

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