Partner Showcase

A Technician Begins His Journey

As he begins his career, Jacob Tully, the Mitchell1/ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Future, shares some thoughts with ASE.

Like many technicians, Jacob Tully had an early passion for working on cars: “I have always been fascinated with cars from a young age. From toy cars to video games, and now turning it into a career. Repairing vehicles just gives me a great sense of pride knowing I was able to fix the issue and fix it right.

“I have many friends with the same interest in cars as me, but only one decided to make a career out of it as well.” One might think that turning wrenches was a family affair, but, no: “As far as family goes, I am the only one with a passion for working on cars!”

Even with his deep interest in cars, initially Jake did not consider automotive repair as a career; in fact, he planned on becoming an engineer: “Throughout high school, I had no plans of working in the automotive industry, and considered it more of a hobby, so I chose to take engineering courses. After graduation, I decided to go to college for mechanical engineering.”
Meanwhile, Jake had been working in his neighbor’s garage, and this experience proved pivotal. “My first job involving cars was straight out of high school. I began to work for my neighbor’s independent repair garage and developed a huge passion for getting my hands dirty.” Tully cites this garage owner as a huge influence: “My neighbor was definitely my biggest help along the way. He brought me into his garage with no experience, and taught me everything I needed to know to be successful in his garage and in the industry. He was definitely my mentor.”

A month into college for mechanical engineering, Tully changed course. “I dropped out once I realized the automotive industry was my true calling…Working in my neighbor’s garage just really made me realize I loved repairing cars and that I needed to make a career out of it. I dropped out of college and pursued the automotive industry.”

Many young people might have drifted a bit at that point, but Jake’s work ethic, maturity and self-awareness, to say nothing of the strong support of his family, helped propel him to meet his goals and waste no time doing it.

So with no auto courses in high school, but solid hands-on work experience gained while under the close supervision of his garage-owing neighbor, Jake applied to Universal Technical Institute in Orlando, a thousand miles from his hometown in Kentucky. Once at UTI, Jake impressed his instructors with his energy and mastery of each course, winning fifteen consecutive commendations (the most possible) for superior achievement during the 51-week program and ultimately graduating at the top of his class.

But Jake was not done; he had selected the Orlando branch of UTI in part for its location close to one of BMW’s Service Technician Education Programs. This choice paid off: Jake’s superior record at UTI helped him land a coveted place in the BMW Step Program, which offers intensive 16-week training for aspiring BMW techs. After completing this OE-specific program, Jake interviewed and landed a job at The BMW Store in Cincinnati, Ohio, close-by his hometown across the river in Kentucky.

Along the way, Jake started earning ASE credentials, which he views as an important sign of professionalism: “ASE certifications have played a big part in my career so far. Having those extra certifications from a highly credible organization like ASE puts you above others when applying for a job, especially being young and just getting started in the industry. I took my first ASE test because I knew it would help me get to my dream position as a BMW technician.”

We asked Jake what other skills or traits, beside technical ability, have proven helpful, and he was quick to answer: “People skills--there is plenty of communication in the industry from advisors, customers, managers, and your fellow technicians, and learning to get along with these people has made this career path a lot easier and much more enjoyable.” With a maturity beyond his years, Jake also mentions the importance of interviewing skills. “These skills are often overlooked, and after practicing my interview skills, it helped me to get to my dream job where I am today.”

This young technician offers advice to those just starting out: “Chase your dreams. Don't stop learning. Keep pushing yourself to be the best. The industry is growing fast, grow with it.”

Jake Tully has already learned some lessons in his short career and offers a few best practices and insights for future technicians: “Follow your repair instructions. Make a mental checklist of everything you did on a vehicle and make sure you aren't forgetting anything. Avoid overwhelming yourself. Go at your own pace, make sure you're doing the job right the first time; speed will come after that. Be patient, things don't always go right. Always be open minded to others’ opinions, you can learn a lot from other technicians.”

Talented and energetic, Tully is also aware of the people who helped him meet his goals: the neighbor who hired and mentored him, his instructors and, perhaps most of all, this young man’s family: “We are all very close and without their constant support I would have never made it a year and a half on my own living 1,000 miles from home.”

When he is not at the dealership, Jake enjoys hunting, fishing, video games, being with friends/family, swimming, working out, car meets and drag racing.

But it’s practicing his trade that brings the most joy to this promising young technician: “When you’re doing something you love, you’re never truly working a day in your life.”