Partner Showcase

A Technicians Story

For Daner Torres, an ASE Certified Master Auto Technician at Wentworth Subaru in Portland, Oregon, dedication to family and hard work along with the willingness to make the most of opportunities have added up to success and fulfillment at a young age. This unassuming young man has faced and overcome challenges that might have limited others.

In 2004, after an eight-year wait, the Torres family was granted an immigration visa to enter the United States from Cuba. First stop was Miami, but this was little more than a layover, as the family relocated a week later to Portland on the advice of a church group in South Florida. The family knew nobody, but was not alone; they received help and advice from their church. “Good people helped us along the way,” Daner remarks. So, to the Pacific Northwest went the Torres family.

Among the first priorities for the young teenager was learning a second language. “It toughened me up; I stayed out of trouble,” Daner, now fluent in English, recalls. When he was old enough, he worked in a warehouse for a gasket manufacturing company to contribute to the family. But he wanted more.

Like so many future technicians, Daner was “always fascinated with fixing stuff” and thought it was “time to try something new” with a better future. Daner’s timing could not have been better. The industry had been improving educational opportunities, with OEMs recognizing the importance of local involvement to encourage excellence in auto programs. For Subaru of America, this effort meant developing “Subaru-U” -- a partnership between Subaru of America, its local dealers, and high performing ASE Accredited secondary and post-secondary schools.

“Students at participating Subaru-U partner schools can gain valuable knowledge of Subaru vehicle systems that can better prepare them for possible employment in any one of approximately 600 Subaru retailers nationwide. Retailers have the ability to take an active role with their local partner schools in shaping the technicians of tomorrow,” notes the Subaru-U website.

Wentworth Subaru in Portland saw the potential in Daner and offered him a sponsored apprenticeship that combined periods of hands-on mentorship and training onsite at the dealership’s busy service department with study in the automotive program at nearby Mt. Hood Community College. Their program was NATEF Accredited and an AYES participant (both programs are now known as the ASE Education Foundation); additionally, it offered a limited-entry “IMPORT” program (Individualized Mechanical Program of Repair Technicians), giving students an opportunity to gain work experience while being trained as service technicians for specific dealerships or independent repair facilities.

“We began by watching, then learned to diagnose problems, and moved on to hands-on work” at the dealership, Daner recalls. Three months at the dealership alternated with three months at Mt. Hood for eight quarters until Torres emerged with a freshly minted Associates Degree in Automotive Technology and then began a year of full-time work at Wentworth.

Daner places great value on his mentorship experience. “You need the classroom time, but you need the hands-on training to retain the information. When you have a mentor, it makes it much easier. You have someone on your side. When you are new, it is nice to have someone backing you up.” To that end, Daner explicitly thanked Wentworth Subaru for the opportunity. “It’s been an honor; they mentored me through school.”

Torres has stayed on at Wentworth, where he has worked for the past five years. He looks back with gratitude for the many people who influenced and “helped (him) along the way"—specifically, Steve Michener, Automotive Instructor at Mt. Hood Community College; Daner’s direct mentor, Chris Thompson, Senior Master Subaru Technician at Wentworth; and Thomas Carson, Technical Manager at Wentworth.

Asked to give advice to those just starting their careers, Daner says “learning electricity is one of the biggest things; knowing electrical systems helps a lot.” And while he mentions the usefulness of training videos, Daner stresses the importance of hands-on training. “It’s important to touch stuff, physically, and to apply (knowledge) right away.”

Between schooling and work at Wentworth, Daner has nine years under his belt. A young family man, Daner is quick to thank his wife, Araceli. “She helped me achieve my goals; she is a hard-working beautiful woman." He adds, " I’m a proud dad of my two lovely daughters; they always put a smile on my face when I get home from work. They are the love of my life.”

Since graduating five years ago, Daner has earned his ASE Master Auto Technician certification and notes that the ASE credential is “something that employers look for” and adds that “it helps with the raises, too!” He views the career as very stable and adds, “I am proud to be an ASE Master Tech.”

Late in 2017, Daner Torres was named the Subaru-U / ASE Master Automotive Technician of the Year. “Daner has come a long way since immigrating in 2004,” said Dan Vespertino, Director, Service-Technical, Subaru of America and member of the ASE Board of Governors. “Today, he is a shining star realizing his American dream and is thriving in his chosen profession. He has set the bar for others in his time with Subaru University and by earning his ASE Blue Seal of Excellence. He should be as proud of his accomplishments as we are of him.”