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The Journey of an Automotive Technician

Like many future technicians, Woody Robison started by helping his father tune up the family car. Then, fascination with a neighbor's new 1970 Corvette Stingray increased his interest. But it was getting his own first car —a used 1963 Chevy Corvair Monza Coupe—that sharpened the work habits that would help him throughout his career. "I replaced the engine (twice) and had to replace everything in the brake system. That was my first experience with auto repair where I had to get it right," Woody tells ASE.

Even so, a career as an auto technician was not yet a done deal. Woody's father "insisted that I pursue a career in electronics because he said (back in 1970) that someday, electronics would be in everything. I was working in the electronics industry and working on a degree in Electrical Engineering but realized that my heart wasn't really in what I was doing. I was more interested in auto repair and decided to give it a try," Woody recalls.
After a year at a tire shop, Woody landed a position at a service station that offered a full range of automotive service and repair, with an owner who took Woody under his wing. "That's where I had my first real experience repairing cars professionally. The owner of that service station had a lot of experience and shared his knowledge and common-sense approach to working with me."
He already had a two-year diploma in electronics and had completed some courses in electrical engineering, but went on to graduate from a post-secondary auto program—with honors.  

He took his first ASE tests "because it was the first thing that came up on job interviews and was required for state emissions inspections," but adds, "ASE is an excellent measure of a technician's technical knowledge and abilities. It encourages technicians to stay up-to-date as the technology becomes more advanced and complicated."

After 14 years with private shops, Woody worked for another 9 at a GM dealership in Paramus, N.J, and has been at Pahrump Valley Auto Plaza (Chevy/Buick/GMC) for the past 11 years.
Even now, he cites the owner of that first service station for "teaching me the work ethic that led to winning the Technician of the Year Award.

And he credits his ability to stay focused on details as vital to maintaining the quality of his work and recalls his early interest and training in electronics as "a valuable asset, as the technology going into new cars becomes more advanced and complicated."


"Seems my dad was right about electronics," Woody observes.