A Draft Notice Changed All My Plans

Technician Profile Summer 2010 ASE TechNews Newsletter

Glenn A. Shaver

Glenn A. Shaver of Kannapolis, North Carolina, retired in 2010 after a full career in the military and second career teaching in Europe and America. Talented in physics, he planned to become a scientist, but a draft notice in 1968 changed his plan. Along the way Mr. Shaver earned certification in virtually every ASE area and recertified time and again—134 tests in all. He discussed his career and life experiences with ASE TechNews.

A draft notice in 1968 changed all my plans…I ended up retiring from the Army as a Chief Warrant Officer after having served for 22 years as an equipment technician and maintenance officer. It was during those years in the military that I got some of the best imaginable technical training, and I was also able to complete two AAS degrees in Automotive Technology and a BS degree in Management.

The biggest break of my life came in 1975 when I was stationed in Germany. The Army Education Center announced that some organization called NIASE (ASE’s original acronym) that we had never heard of and couldn’t even pronounce would be offering certification tests that could help us get civilian recognition for our military-acquired skills. They sounded right for me, so I signed up and took all eight automotive tests (that’s all there were back then) in one session. I only passed seven of the eight tests, so I had to re-test later on the A2 to get the Master Automotive Technician certification. My primary specialty in the Army was heavy construction equipment (mostly diesel, hydraulics, and electrical), so I jumped all over the Medium- Heavy Truck tests when they came out a few years later. By then I was really hooked, and I spent a total of 35 years taking every new test series that had “technician” in the title.

My second career began, unplanned, when I retired from the Army in 1990 and decided to stay in Germany. Central Texas College (Europe Campus) just happened to need an automotive instructor, so I decided to give it a try. I discovered very soon that nothing I had ever done was as satisfying as teaching young men (and sometimes women) who were just like I had been: young and starting out in life without a whole lot of education and experience behind them. We didn’t have modern facilities and state-of-the-art test equipment, but we had some of the coolest vehicles ever built to work on. After 8 years with CTC, the University of Maryland (European Division) got the DoD contract to offer career and technical courses in Europe, and I was hired by them. The end of Communism...resulted in drastic reductions in the US troop strength in Germany... I could see my opportunity to continue teaching in Germany coming to an end.

I learned that Universal Technical Institute (UTI) and NASCAR were planning a new training facility in Mooresville, North Carolina, just 20 miles from my hometown in Kannapolis. I applied and was accepted to teach at the new NASCAR Technical Institute (NTI). I spent five interesting years with NTI, and I think I will be remembered there as having had some of the most professional and innovative training aids (since I had shipped all of my training aids and equipment from Germany back to the US). Having more ASE patches than I had sleeves to sew them on was nice, too.

I am proud to have been with ASE for all but the first three years of its existence…Everyone has heard the cliché, use the right tool for the job. ASE was the right tool for me, and at exactly the right time. I’m going into retirement with five ASE Master Technician certifications, L1, L2, F1, and X1 (37 individual certifications). I’m certainly proud of them, but I am also equally proud to have been able to give something back to our profession. Not many will be able to teach for 17 years as I did, but we have a great profession, and I encourage everyone to do what they can to give something back to those following in our footsteps.

And we have some great support organizations, thanks ASE, it’s been a great ride.