Auto shops can seem intimidating, with the crew consisting of rough and tough “fat monkeys” and a slew of name brand vehicles all lined up in the shop. Some may even say that auto shops are boring and unwelcoming to many, but these shops radiate creativity and innovation.
Whether it’s a hobby, a passion, or a bit of both, the world of automotive technology offers something enjoyable for all technicians. For many auto mechanics, especially those at Skyline, modifying and refurbishing electronic and manufacturing units not only brings them joy but also motivation.
“I personally prefer modified vehicles,” said Liam Kerr, a Skyline student in his second semester with the automotive program. “I really like the underground car scene and the way everything works. You can basically build your own car and whatever you want.
Although his interests lie in modifications, Kerr is motivated to become a mechanical engineer beyond customizing cars.
“I hope one day I can have my own store or work in a store like this so I can help people’s visions come true and make the cars that way,” Kerr said.
Likewise, Skyline automotive professor Julia Johnson takes great pride in the program she teaches, such as automotive technology fundamentals or engine diagnostics, and is thrilled to see her students succeed in the industry. automobile.
“When I developed all of my classes, I went to employers and asked them what they wanted me to teach,” Johnson said. “I visited the workshops, saw what kind of equipment they used, their processes, how they did it, and taught the students exactly that.”
She strives to create a personal relationship with her students and give them the opportunity to experience automotive shop work. It builds an available path that one can take as a potential career regardless of an individual’s knowledge or background in this industry.
“I give them the roots, and they get the basics and the education,” Johnson said. “And then it’s time for them to spread their wings and soar, and succeed. That’s really why I’m here.
And while every mechanic’s journey to finding a passion for engines and modifications differs, there are benefits for those who put in the effort and expand their expertise.
Joseph Surick, a Skyline student enrolled in the auto program, had been gripped by the clutches of a majority of toxic family households in his life, leading him down the dark path of alcoholism and ultimately placing him in rehab where he decided to fix his life. and pursue his passion in auto repair.
“I don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck anymore,” Surick said. “I prefer to spend time and effort to obtain the necessary qualifications to have a good quality of life. It takes a lot to start at 35 to (start over) from scratch, (but) I still achieved a lot more than I ever imagined.
Surick has retained his resolve and hopes his own personal journey will encourage those who are troubled or unsure of their abilities.
“The only thing stopping you is procrastination and self-doubt,” Surick said. “I hate to borrow a slogan from Nike, but ‘Just Do It.’ Seriously, if I can do it, anyone can do it.
Likewise, Johnson may have pursued her passion in the field late, but she managed to overcome a host of challenges in this male-dominated field of the automotive tech world as a female engineer.
“Being treated differently from other guys and being treated less than…hasn’t been all rosy,” Johnson said. “It’s been a tough climb.”
Despite the setbacks, her motivation for teaching and love for the industry is what drives her to become a role model for students.
“I would really like to emphasize to women that this is definitely an industry that they could be successful in,” Johnson said. “And I like to point out to anyone who may have never even considered a career in the automotive industry, you don’t have to just tear it up.”
Automotive careers have generally been considered monotonous and flat. However, there is a fiery spirit in the industry and lessons that go beyond cars and electronics.