Hey everyone, it’s time for Behind the Wrench! Today we have a former mechanic who now teaches the craft to the next generation! It is my absolute pleasure to have this interview with Bill!
William (Bill) Foster
Program Director, Tech School
I started out working for Sears Automotive, busting tires, changing oil, you know, grunt work.
As a music fan, I really like the way radios have progressed. Otherwise, GPS rocks.
Cars were easier to work on back in the 70s, but they needed a lot of work. By 70K, one had to have suspensions rebuilt and sometime, major engine repairs. Newer cars don’t have to be worked on as often. It is true, they don’t make them like they used to…they make them better.
My last hands-on job was at an independent. During my career, I worked for both dealers and independents both have their good and bad.
Currently, I’m a director and a teacher at a technical school in a manufacturers program. I like it because I get the skinny on all the new technology and I have a 40-hour week.
Summer, boating and jet-skiing. Fall and Winter, hiking.
Old Jeep Cherokee. It pulls the boats and takes me to the trails.
1969 Camaro SS. 396, 4-speed.
A hands-on career with good pay. I have no regrets on that decision.
A kitten. I rescued it with welding gloves on. When the owner would not take it, I suggested that I put in back in the engine bay where I found it. She changed her mind. They became good friends.
As a tech, yes, and I hated it. As a shop manager, yes, but it was my job. As a teacher/program director, it’s my job and I enjoy it.
Turning on light bulbs in normally dimly lit brains.
As a technician, I would avoid being directly involved with customers. I would second guess becoming certified, as you get all of the problem cars.
The next time you go to the doctor, and then have to go back for the same problem, and you get charged for it, think of how cheap the car repair was. Remember, doctors bury their mistakes.
Cars are harder to work on for pro mechanics…who think they can repair cars with their wits. You need diagnostic skills, diagnostic tools, and service information. I was fortunate to have worked for employers who purchased good service manuals and equipment.
Full-service oil changes.
It is very important to read the owner’s manual; you miss out on all the features of a car if you don’t.
Yes. After I drove a car for 6 years and found out about the auto-headlight function, I started reading them.
Hammer. Just kidding, DVOM.
The brand with the best service. Currently, that’s Snap-On.
Scanner, DVOM, test light. I enjoy the challenge of drivablility and electrical work…now that I’m not on flat-rate.
DVD player to watch Bond movies.
Toyota or Scion because of the dependability. Actually, I did that for two of them.
Your local tech-school instructor works hard to get young men and women ready for entry-level employment. They are not masters yet, and will not be for a few years to come. Give them a chance as someone did you one day. It is frustrating to watch young people work hard for a year or two learning a career just to be denied a chance, or get paid so little that pizza delivery is a better choice upon graduation. It happens every day.