Hot Rodders of Tomorrow at SEMA
The Technician.Academy team flew into the Chicago Midway airport from Louisville early Monday morning, October 30, 2017, for a short layover. On the flight out of Chicago in route to Las Vegas, I was settled in the middle of a group of young men who were discussing going to the SEMA Show. When someone asked them where they were from, and one young man said Champaign, IL, I asked why they were going to SEMA. They started explaining that they competed in the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow competition and were one of two teams from Parkland College in Champaign, IL. They were a group of high school students who won three competitions to earn the right to compete in Las Vegas. They could be affiliated with the college while still being in high school because they were all enrolled through their individual high schools in dual credit courses offered at the college.
I had the opportunity to watch the two teams from Parkland College compete, and the best way for me to describe this competition was “repair poetry”. Each team had a small block 350 Chevy on an engine stand. They had to break it down to where only the cam and crankshaft were left in the block, then reassemble it. This is done while two or three other teams are doing the same thing right beside them, and spectators are cheering. This was not a race against the other teams but against the clock.
I was fortunate to meet both of the Parkland College coaches and was inspired to hear stories about their journey to get in the competition at Las Vegas. Throughout the week, I stopped by the Hot Rodders of Tomorrow booth and viewed the competition. It was great to see how these teams worked together for a common goal. I even had the pleasure to watch the team everyone was talking about: the all-girl team. They were extremely fast and coordinated as a very impressive team. Teams were cheering for each other as spectators were rooting for their favorite teams as well. It was like being at an extremely competitive football game, only with engines and wrenches.
The Hot Rodders of Tomorrow is an awesome program that will help fill the need for talent in the future. I had a little time to reflect on my past while watching these students rest between competitions. I wondered how programs like this could help to reduce the impact of technician shortages. Is it too late for programs like this to be effective in filling the need? I don’t believe so; I think we need more of these programs. The automotive industry as a whole should be fully immersed in these type of activities, including community college automotive programs.
Awards at AAPEX
On Tuesday night, October 31, 2017, the Technician.Academy team attended the Women in Auto Care Banquet and Reception where Technician.Academy was awarded three Automotive Communication Awards for their podcast series and the Respect is Learned© campaign. I am sincerely humbled by these awards from such a professional group. The podcast initiative has been an exciting undertaking. I have been fortunate to have interviewed many different personalities in the industry and am continually encouraged to bring their varying opinions to the table. I truly enjoy these interactions and leave with a different perspective on the industry as a whole after each interview. We are approaching the year’s end of the podcast series where we’ll recap what’s happened this year and discuss future initiatives. Be sure to tune into the podcast series for some different aspects and ideas about improving the future.
Respect is Learned© In The Pits 2018 Announcements
Technician.Academy announced on Wednesday, November 1, 2017, the continuation of the Respect is Learned© In The Pits promotion for 2018. We will continue to work with the Randy Meyer Racing Top Alcohol Dragster team and put a college student in the pits with the team at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals event in Indianapolis again in 2018. This is a very unique opportunity for the winner. In 2017, a young man named Kyle Clapp from Western Kentucky, a lifelong drag racer and a junior dragster champion, won this competition. Clapp worked all weekend at the Chevrolet Performance U.S. Nationals with the Randy Meyer Racing team. The crew was excited about Clapp’s abilities and work ethic. I am excited to see the many entrants for the 2018 program and the interaction that will happen. To apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or to learn more about the program, click here.
It truly is a sensory overload to attend the SEMA Show. For an automotive enthusiast, it truly is an amazing event that should be experienced. I believe you could spend a full week walking around the three halls and vast parking lots of SEMA and still not see everything. I recommend that everyone who enjoys the automotive industry should plan on visiting SEMA at least once. I do, however, suggest you should have a minimum of two comfortable pairs of shoes, and it might not hurt to train like you are getting ready for a marathon before traveling to Las Vegas and taking on SEMA. What a great experience SEMA 2017 was and one I won’t soon forget.