Techs Rock Candidate Profiles - Emerging Technologies

Techs Rock Candidate Profiles – Emerging Technologies

These techs prove emerging technology keeps the industry moving forward.

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 Emerging Technology 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

Michael Meier, Centura College, Norfolk, VA

Who is Michael?

Michael is a Master Electrician training for his next career as a Wind Turbine Technician at Centura College. He served as an Aviation Electronics Technician in the Navy before starting a 20+ year electrician career.

Michael’s instructor at Centura College nominated him for the Techs Rock Awards.

Why he wants to be a technician:

After a 20+ year career as an electrician, Michael was furloughed in 2023. With encouragement from his sister-in-law, Michael saw this as an opportunity to begin a new career in renewable energy.

In his words, “At the age of 51 [I am] back in an educational institution to learn… Wind Turbines [and] renewable electrical generation. Because of being furloughed by a company that had lost sight of my professional knowledge, I felt I was just a number and not a person of great knowledge and professionalism. So, I turned to seek knowledge and training in a new career. Renewable Energy and wind turbines have captured my passion, [and my skills] as a professional technician will be needed across the world. This is why I am where I am today.”

Michael’s accomplishments:

Michael had a 20+ year career as an electrician, where he established himself as an electrical machinery expert. Michael achieved Master Electrician status and established a reputation as a go-to reliable problem solver.

As his nominator writes, “[Michael] would give his all to ensure he did the job safely, train recruits properly, and ensure a high quality of work. Even after being furloughed, his former colleagues would still reach out for help with Machines that were down. Even during class, he will randomly get calls asking to share some of the information he has learned [in his career.]”

In the face of being furloughed, Michael showed grit and perseverance in pursuing a new career as a Wind Turbine Technician.

Making a positive impact:

Michael is committed to helping and encouraging all those around him. He credits this to “[volunteering with] Camp Good Days and Special Times, [a camp that strives to improve the quality of life for families affected by cancer or sickle cell anemia]. It is here that I would become a man of paying it forward in all I do.”

In his nomination, Michael’s instructor writes, “Michael is an exceptionally admirable person; he leaves a lasting impression on everyone he meets. His passion and excitement for the field have bled onto me as his instructor. He often will say that he feels like a young man again, just with how excited he is to get his certifications and learn about the Wind Industry.

Michael is very giving, whether it be time that he gives to a Leukemia Summer camp or staying late to help an instructor finish a personal project. In any way he can help, he happily will give up his time and even financial support. Through his passion for football, [Michael] decided to give back to the game and was an umpire for the VHSL [Virginia High School League] for about 20 years.

Thanks to Michael being a master electrician, he has started to offer help/study sessions to his classmates. Whenever you are around Mr. Meier you will only hear him speak positively. He can change the mood of a room just with his presence.”

WORKING TECHNICIAN

Paul Herold, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Monroeville, PA

Who is Paul?

Paul Herold is an ASE Master Technician with Firestone Complete Auto Care.

Why Paul was nominated:

Paul’s colleague nominated him for the Techs Rock Awards, writing, “I have known Paul for several years, and he has always impressed me as a knowledgeable, professional technician who defines his role as ‘Lead Technician’ beyond the literal industry definition as one of the most highly skilled technician roles. (Paul is ASE Master L1 and L3.)

Paul also considers ‘Lead Technician’ to have a leadership component to be a role model and to help make the people, the shop, and the business more successful.”

What Paul is most excited about as a technician:

Paul shared his excitement for electric vehicles and hybrids, “Lately, I have been learning about and working on hybrids and high voltage systems. The business is changing rapidly, and I am very excited to step up to the plate with this new technology. My future goal is to be able to teach this technology to my fellow Firestone technicians.”

What Paul’s supervisors had to say:

Paul’s area manager writes, “This is AMAZING to hear as Paul embodies what [TechForce is] looking to honor with this award. As Paul’s Area Manager, I can personally say Paul exemplifies the characteristics of genuine caring, entrepreneurial, and digital. Paul has been a resource for me since I joined a little over a year ago. Paul has incredible business acumen; his passion for internal talent development is second to none. Paul has the heart of a teacher taking every opportunity to teach and train our budding technicians and further my mechanical understanding as I entered the Automotive Service industry. Paul is a leader amongst peers who takes an interest in other stores’ successes and helps facilitate a culture of training by outlining career paths for technicians throughout the Area. Paul is truly a gem in the industry, and I hope he gets the consideration he deserves.”

Paul’s Store Manager writes, “He has done so much for our company. I am incredibly grateful to have him as part of my team. One of the things he does daily is being a true leader for us. Every technician I have started as a maintenance technician, and with [Paul’s] guidance, they have become highly productive technicians (AB and C Techs) with goals that he has set for them. He helps them transfer successfully from hourly to flat-rate technicians. They completely understand what it means to be a productive technician.

On multiple occasions, I have seen him help coworkers figure out how many hours they have to flag per week to pay their bills and live a sustainable life. Only true mentors do this. He is never too busy to help anyone, no matter the task. His problem-solving mindset is the best I have ever worked with.

Not only does he always have employees’ best interests in mind, but what he does for our customers sets him apart. The service he provides to the customer is outstanding, from the initial diagnostic, explaining the failure repair, and then handing the keys back to the customer. He is involved in every step. He has developed a long tenure of customers trusting him with his knowledge and expertise of their vehicle.”

Paul’s accomplishments:

Paul’s nominator writes about his leadership with Automotive Emerging Technology: “Paul has prepared himself to set the pace for our entire organization! Paul started by proactively getting his ASE L3 certification, which is still quite rare in the industry. Paul then invested time on his own researching electric and hybrid vehicles to understand the subtle differences in everyday scheduled maintenance, and he also learned how to service and diagnose high-voltage systems. A local fleet approached Paul and his store manager to service their EV fleet. As Paul learned more about high-voltage systems, he proactively asked local managers and the corporate office for additional testing equipment. Even further, Paul requested and volunteered to take 27 hours of formal, online technical training designed for trade school instructors teaching high-voltage service (including more theory and engineering).

As of writing this nomination today, Paul is scheduled to take another three days of hands-on high-voltage training by one company and complete another hands-on training by a second company to learn how to use a module-by-module discharger to diagnose and ultimately revitalize or rebuild certain high-voltage battery packs, which is a service even beyond most dealerships. This caliber of high-voltage battery diagnostic equipment (and other specialized diagnostic equipment for 3-phase high-voltage electric machines/motors, etc.) is an investment made only in a handful of stores at this time.”

Paul’s technician journey:

Paul graduated from Rosedale Technical Institute (now Rosedale Technical College) with a 4.0 GPA in 2004.

Paul says, “Throughout school, I was intimidated, scared, and unsure about vehicle technology and where my career would take me, [and] if I were going to have an auto career at all. My instructors’ ability to give me the knowledge and tools to succeed and instill confidence in me was amazing. Without them, I’d never have been ready to take on the auto repair world or any successful career.

I have now been a technician with Firestone for almost 19 years. Within the first three years as a tech, I achieved L1 Master Technician status. In 2022, I achieved the L3 HEV certification, and I can proudly say I have passed every ASE test I’ve taken.

I am also a founding member of the Bridgestone Retail Council. It’s a group of about 20 technicians from across the country representing all technicians from their respective regions. We solve problems ranging from how many labor hours an inspection should pay to testing the newest scan tool we should purchase for the company.

That team is the best of the best, and it humbles you very quickly when you’re in the presence of some world-class technicians.”

Making a positive impact:

Paul says, “For about eight years with Firestone, I was the Pittsburgh District’s technician trainer while working full-time as a lead technician in a store. Teaching the newest technicians within our company was definitely one of the highlights of my career.

To mold them the correct way early in their careers enhanced not only the company and the technician but myself as well. I became a better person and better technician during that time. The dual role has changed since then, but [I still] serve the teaching side at a more local level in my store and the surrounding stores.

I’ve learned a ton of info in my 20 years in the business, and it benefits everyone to share it. I answer the call no matter if it’s a question from my coworkers or a call from a tech in a store 50 miles away.”

Paul’s nominator writes, “In our organization of 11,000+ technicians and 2200+ service centers, Paul was nominated several years ago to be one of only 18 technicians to represent the technician community. Paul accepted and is an active member of this elite council meeting biweekly to discuss anything that impacts the service center operations. If Paul comes across a new vehicle or a new problem that he feels may be of interest or value to other technicians, Paul shares it with the council and with our company’s Technical Operations so that other technicians can be more aware.

Paul also volunteers his time and effort to trial new tools and equipment being considered for wider placement across our network of stores. For example, Paul’s input regarding what scan tool functions were needed most at the store by technicians helped steer our company to literally invest millions of dollars in centrally-supplied scan tools across our network of stores purchased to solve real-world technician needs as opposed to being a cost-driven financial decision. In another example of Paul’s commitment to be a role model, Paul has contacted the corporate office several times to help answer HR-type benefit questions that various technicians have submitted to Paul because he has built their trust. I can share dozens of other examples where Paul is selflessly helping steer our stores to make better decisions for the larger technician population and to keep the company on the edge of servicing the emerging technology of today’s automobiles.”

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