Partner Showcase

ASE Technician Profile - Ron King

Ron King
NAPA/ASE Master Technician of the Year

“It started with a mini-bike that my cousin gave me in fifth grade,” says Ron King about his decades-long interest in fixing vehicles and engines. “I blew it up, and a neighbor helped me rebuild it.” Now Director of Technical Support for DATTCO, a New Britain, CT-based transportation services company with a large presence in New England, King recently reminisced about his career and beginnings, and offered timeless advice for new and experienced employees alike.

King had been in or around the automotive business in one form or fashion since well before 1980, when he began “pumping gas at the family garage when I was probably 10.” He also worked with his father on farm tractors and the family cars.

Although he “liked to hang out” at his mother’s family-owned Texaco station, working on cars in earnest “didn’t really start until a friend turned me on to muscle cars (1970 AMX) and street racing. I started working in my driveway doing repairs at age 15 back in 1980. We wrenched on it every weekend. I quickly learned that I was good at it and liked the satisfaction of what I could do,” King recalls. He was good enough to earn pocket cash through high school.

Although this experience set a good foundation, Ron had a teen’s thoughts of adventures and glamor; in particular, a notion of becoming a jet pilot someday. The reality of that career path plus the down-to-earth advice of a friend helped his career plans gel: “I was working at the gas station one night and a friend of the family asked me about my future. I wanted to fly jets but not six more years of school to do it. He asked what I enjoyed and the rest is history.”

Along the way, there were many mentors—a teacher in high school; his father; post-secondary instructors at TCI; several technical trainers; and his current boss, Bryan Miller, at DATTCO. King’s summary of his professional training is a testament to his belief in continuing education: “Factory training is good stuff; I have Allison, Navistar, Cummins, Eaton and many more. I have made some great friends with trainers: Rick Austin of Tactical Training Solutions, all my Eaton friends, the whole Navistar training center--too many good guys to list--and, of course, the NAPA Training Department. I’ve been doing this so long my list would take a whole page.” Ron has the distinction of having won two national ASE awards: the Navistar/ASE Master School Bus Technician of the Year and the NAPA/ASE Master Technician of the Year.

King was introduced to ASE at the request of a manager. “I took my first ASE (test) because my boss asked me to see what it was all about.” But King showed the same enthusiasm for ASE certification that he did for advancing himself through on-going technical training. “I’m proud to say I’m a triple master and hold L1 and L2 as well.”

“I truly believe ASE pushes me to be a better tech than I would be without them,” King states, and adds that the technician certification program has broadened his outlook and helped him keep up with developments in the field. “ASE has brought me into a whole new circle of people and I’m privileged to say many of them are my friends now. It’s helped me by pushing me to learn things I’ve never worked on before and to stay up on technology.”

And King adds how ASE helps combat negative stereotypes of the industry: “It’s the closest thing we have to licensing and customers should know that. With all the bad images of backyard techs and grease monkey hacks, I’m proud I earned my status.”

Looking back on his student days, he offers advice to young people starting out in the field: “I took to electrical quickly and that’s a huge benefit these days. I should have taken more math classes--darn if those teachers weren’t correct, I would need algebra.”

Ron’s advice continues: “So learn electrical and computers. Bring that knowledge and a desire to work in the shop and you will succeed. Ask for help, it’s not weakness, it’s courageous and smart. Avoid negativity--people not electrons. It will consume you and waste your time. Avoid the shops that don’t offer training; if you quit training, you will be in a dead-end job. Stay current--another electron reference,” King adds, with a bit of humor thrown in.

Ron King’s outgoing personality has also helped along the way; he notes that he’s a people-person: “I want to help where I can. I love to talk and share my knowledge.” Indeed, Ron is a big believer in giving back and has posted a video on YouTube ( about the importance of mentoring younger people.

And his final advice is timeless: “Do what you love and it will never be a job.” Ron adds it’s important to “find time to have fun.” He enjoys anything with his “wife and best friend, Sharon, time with our Jack Russell Terrier, and both of my families--home and my DATTCO family.”

Ron King is not only a master technician; he has mastered the art of living well.