After graduating from high school, I wasn't sure what I really wanted to do. I decided to join the Navy and enter their Avionics Technician Program. I spent the first year in electronics courses, as well as in aircraft flight systems courses. My last duty station was onboard an aircraft carrier, CVN 73 USS George Washington. The time I spent in the Navy was an all around great learning experience.
After I got out of the Navy, I had another decision to make. Now what do I want to do? I always knew I liked cars, so I decided to enroll in Bay College's Automotive Technology Program. It was my intention to get an Associate's degree in Automotive Technology. All of my classes and instructors at Bay made my enrollment there an enjoyable experience. The subject matter was always covered at a good pace, and there was a lot of hands-on training. The Automotive instructors were ASE Master Certified, which spoke volumes about the quality of the training provided.
What I learned at Bay College got me the start I needed to get into the automotive field, and to get the certifications I needed. I graduated from Bay in May 1999 with honors. I am currently an ASE Master Certified Technician working at a local car dealership. My education at Bay College is what got me where I am at today. With my educational background and my dealership experience, I can go anywhere. I will continue my education in the future, and who knows, maybe I will be an automotive instructor someday.
I was employed by Lakeside Machine for 23 years. In November of 2002, we received the news that the plant was to close. I found myself in an unplanned situation, so I decided to enroll at Bay de Noc Community College. My course of study was a two year degree in Automotive Technology. The program was very interesting, with many challenges. I graduated in December, 2004 with a G.P.A. of 3.75. Thanks to Mark Loman and Lee Dragic for their excellent teaching knowledge and skills, I am currently employed at T.K.L. Repair, Inc. as an automotive technician.
My interest in automobiles started when I was a teenager. I bought my first vehicle when I was 12, a 1947 Dodge pickup truck I paid $30 for. Living in the country, this was how I learned to drive and also to do my own maintenance.
During high school I took automotive voc-ed classes at Bay College. My first teacher for these classes was Lee Dragic. I learned a lot during these two years, but didn't pursue it as a career. During the next ten years I had various jobs, first as a machinist at Escan Corporation and later at Lakeside Machine. In November, 2002, Lakeside Machine closed its doors with no warning. In December, employees were informed of their eligibility for retraining under NAFTA, because some of our jobs went to a company in Canada. I didn't want to go back to a machine shop, so I decided to get retrained in Automotive Technology at Bay College. I talked to a counselor at Bay who referred me to the automotive instructors. I went over to the automotive shop and talked to, you guessed it, Lee Dragic, the same instructor I had 29 years earlier. The instructors were extremely helpful in putting together a schedule that would work for me.
In January, 2004, I passed four state certification tests: Engines, Brakes, Manual Transmissions, and Steering & Suspensions. In May, 2004, I passed the ASE Certification Tests in the other four categories: Air Conditioning, Electrical, Automotive Transmissions, and Engine Performance. In July, 2004, I decided to buy a garage in Rock and opened my own shop (Ray's Automotive Repair). With the help of my instructors, I finished up my degree in December, 2004. I'd like to say thanks to Mark Loman and Lee Dragic for working with all of us to get our degrees.
When I started at Bay College, I really didn't know what I wanted to study at college. I originally started in the Computer Aided Design (CAD) program, but sooned changed my major to Automotive Technology. The next several semesters I split my enrollment between CAD and Automotive Technology and during this time was offered a full-time job as a mechanic at Altran in Munising. I worked on about 32 vehicles, including buses (which are diesel), vans, company trucks, the town ambulances, and sheriff's vehicles. Since I am the only mechanic, the job requires shop upkeep and ordering and maintaining records on all the vehicles. The terrific thing is that I'm my own boss! My plans for the future are to complete college, and get a few years of experience in my job. I would very much like to remain in Munising, but things sometimes have a way of working out differently than originally planned.
I have always enjoyed tinkering with cars, snowmobiles, etc., so after graduation from high school I enrolled in the Automotive Technology program at Bay de Noc Community College. I graduated in May, 1996, with an Associate degree in this field. Bay allowed me to get the necessary education and training I needed, yet stay close to home. The automotive program offers hands-on experience by allowing you to diagnose the problem and repair the vehicle. The classroom helped me to gain the knowledge to prepare for taking the Michigan and ASE certification tests. I am now employed at Riverside Chevrolet as a mechanic and am Michigan ASE Master Certified. Bay gave me a great foundation of experience and knowledge to be able to keep up wth the changes and advances in the automotive industry.
When I started at Bay College, I didn't necessarily pick the Auto Tech program with the intentions of pursuing a career in the industry, it was more of a personal interest. I didn't attend Bay looking for the typical "college experience" that so many others do. I went there to learn auto technology, and I did. During the two years I attended Bay, I learned a lot about automotive technology, theory, and principles. I was also introduced to techniques and industry standards that have subsequently helped further my career. In retrospect, being introduced to various types of service material (print and electronic) has helpedme in my current position by providing a strong background for making efficient Service Manual (SM) procedural decisions. The Service Floor experience during my second year introduced me to an industry standard called Flat Rate time, a critical part of what was to be my future job duties.
After graduating from Bay, I attended Ferris State University and graduated in December 2001. An HR rep from Nissan interviewed me in September, 2001, then they flew me out to Los Angeles for a second interview just prior to my graduating. I received a job offer and started with Nissan shortly after graduation. As a Technical Service Information Specialist in Farmington Hills, I deal with a vareity of information. I am responsible for the owner's manuals and accompanying literature, service manuals, and flat rate time studies for each vehicle model, including the Altima, Sentra, Pathfiender, Xterra, and Frontier Service Manuals. The strong technical understanding gained by my education at Bay has played a major role in my success at Nissan. Bay College was a great beginning for me!