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What a great year 2016 has been! I joined EXTEND GROUP in late 2015 as their Director of Aftermarket Content and Programs. I was not sure what to expect in 2016, but after working in the automotive industry for over thirty years, I was ready for anything. I brought with me a passion for the auto repair industry. So, it was a relatively easy process to be a part of directing the automotive aftermarket portion of EXTEND GROUP designated EXTEND PERFORMANCE. Working with several aftermarket manufacturers to provide content and training continues to be a rewarding endeavor.

In early April, we were looking at the needs of the industry with a particular focus on the technician of both tomorrow and today. It was determined that there was a need for a platform that both today’s and tomorrow’s technicians could access that made their day easier and thus Technician.Academy was born. On September 1, 2016, the all new Technician.Academy site launched to the public. So, what is Technician.Academy, and what makes it better than other technician focused sites? I believe the answer is found in just a few words, The Drive to Exceed Expectations. So, let me give you the explanation of this by recapping the 5-month evolution of Technician.Academy.

Let me first clarify some confusion that occasionally happens, and that is the site’s URL or address there is no .com. It’s just Technician.Academy. There is no need for the .com. This might seem odd to some, but it again shows the focus of the site on the technician and providing resources for them to increase their technical abilities. I was a line tech before the great .com era, when believe it or not, you relied on printed repair manual. This way of doing business transitioned into CD/DVD based information and now, we have repair information at the touch of a button. Having this information in the bay can do nothing but speed up the bay time. Being a flat-rate technician most of my life, the quicker I got a job done, the more money I made. Technicians should always be looking at ways to reduce the bay time per vehicle. That is the goal of Technician.Academy; to help turn the bay faster.

So, let’s look at what has happened at Technician.Academy in the three short months the site has been live.

Technical content is added weekly that covers many relevant topics within the industry. These articles range from shop management to cruise control repair. Technician.Academy is always researching articles that provide compelling repair solutions or customer experiences. We also have a talented and knowledgeable group of current technicians and automotive instructors to provide some hands-on information in combination with real world experience articles. There are also regular releases of tech tips that are relevant to the technician.

Hello? Is this microphone on? Technician.Academy launches podcast.

We launched the Technician.Academy Podcast series. The podcasts are recorded with experts within the automotive industry and we occasionally go outside of the industry. Since we don’t rely solely on opinions and ideas created by the insiders, we can determine how the repair industry is seen by those who rely on their vehicle to go through the day-to-day affairs of their life. I believe this is imperative in how we, as an industry, change our habits, good or bad, to improve the service experience. Here are just a few of the guests scheduled for upcoming episodes. One guest is the winner of the Women in Auto Care Female Shop Owner. Another guest is an Airline Repair Industry expert that provides insight into how that industry suffered from a reduction in qualified technicians but now is on the rebound. This topic will be very enlightening in how it compares to what is going on now in the automotive repair industry.

Always searching. Always improving. Technician.Academy launches Job Boards.

We followed up the podcast launch by introducing a Job Board that focuses on Automotive Industry Jobs. We did this to show that Technician.Academy is serious about providing the best information possible in one place, and we’ve already announced an improved version of this feature that leads to quicker, more targeted results. These enhancements are available so that future technicians can find a position or today’s technicians can be aware of career advancements within their area.

What you know today is not good enough for tomorrow. Technician.Academy announces online training courses.

The Technician.Academy website now has free online training that provides training on specific Automotive Systems. This training session is followed up with a quiz that will test the level of knowledge gained during the training session. We are committed to building the online training offering to provide a very advanced level of training eventually. As the degree of training increases, we will be creating interactive courses that will contain actual customer car repairs. I firmly believe that if you want to continue in this industry as a Repair Technician, continuing education is a requirement, not a luxury.

Speak up! We want to hear from you. Technician.Academy announces online forums.

This updated section of the site includes forum pages where technicians can start a discussion on the latest vehicle repair that caused some aggravation or they had a great success with. They can also discuss a college football score and what is happening with their favorite NHRA team. These forums are designed to provide resources in a sharing atmosphere where technicians could come to vent, or applaud, what is happening in their world.

Built to Educate. Technician.Academy visits six NATEF certified colleges.

On top of all this, we were on-site at six premier NATEF certified colleges providing free training to the students. The course was three hours in length and designed to build a basic understanding of the diagnostic procedures needed. We then challenged the students to use these skills to diagnosis actual vehicles with case study history. At these facilities, each student received a tool bag with tools that will help further their careers within the field. Then, through the generosity of WellsVE, a student at each location was awarded a GoTech device to be used to improve their diagnostic abilities. This is just the tip of the iceberg in respect to what the future holds for Technician.Academy and on-site training. We are currently working with a list of colleges to establish a schedule of locations and curriculum for the 2017 Spring and Fall semesters.

Did you receive our email? Technician.Academy launches email newsletter.

As a registered site user, you are able to receive this newsletter which brings opinions and ideas that are circulating within the industry. There may even be articles included that are controversial in the industry. I can assure you, we won’t compromise on topics that we bring to you as a member of the automotive repair industry. Technician.Academy will be hosting guest articles for the newsletter in the future from some well-known industry experts.

Compete and win. It’s the foundation that Technician.Academy is built on.

With all of this momentum, we went into the 2016 AAPEX event in Las Vegas during the first week of November. Technician.Academy was awarded three awards by the Women in Auto Care group. These awards highlighted Technician.Academy as having the best B-2-B website, best B-2-C Facebook customization, and best B-2-C Car Care Clinics. The competition for these awards is very competitive, and many organizations strive to win. Winning these awards within the first few months of having Technician.Academy fully open to the public is a statement to the quality material that is being produced.

So what does 2017 hold for Technician.Academy? Stay Tuned!

We are planning several new product releases throughout the year. They will all be focused on improving the technician’s ability to attain training. Online classes are being developed and offered that build upon the current course list. We will be increasing the offering of tech tip and blog categories in order to provide a broad coverage of information. We will also continue to look for aftermarket manufacturers that want to be a part of bringing a cutting edge level of training to the industry. By partnering with these manufacturers, Technician.Academy can bring current information to the installer about specific part installations. There is more in store, so stay tuned! It is the Automotive Aftermarket. We can’t let all of our secrets out of the bag just yet.

What I can guarantee is Technician.Academy will always strive to provide cutting edge training to the industry. We will also continue to update our award winning site to make it even more user-friendly. Be sure to check the website regularly to keep informed on all of the new items that are added daily. 2017 promises to be a very exciting year for Technician.Academy. As a site user, you’ll want to log in and hold on!

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