Alex Heonis
Owner / Master Tech
Talcott Transmissions
West Hartford, CT

What is your position in the industry?

I am the owner and operations of my business as well as ASE Certified Master Technician and ASE Certified Advanced Level Specialist.

Tell us about yourself. What made you decide to become a service professional?

I have been interested in automobiles since I was in 8th grade. I came in first place in my science project on how a 4 stroke engine works. I still have that ribbon to this day. I did get a BS in Electrical Engineering and a AS in Mechanical Engineering. I did worked in corporate for the government on turbine engines and learned a great deal. unfortunately, I was not built for corporate environment. The 1980's where is when I saw the market in electronics on automobiles and decided to open my own automotive shop with the best technician I can find and train. Automobiles is my passion. I became very involved in drag racing with an ET of 7.48 seconds in the quarter mile. I used my education and experience in the aircraft business and applied it to my business. It became very successful, because the electrical background help me to repair these vehicles where others could not.

I am 61 years old and still love what I do!

Now I am helping other shops in network to run your shop like a business, to be professional and repair the vehicles correctly.

Where/How did you get your training to get the knowledge you have today?

I started being interested in cars when I was 9 years old and watched the guys on the street repairing their vehicle. I was their little helper. I learned about wrench sized at that time. In high school I took 3 years of Auto Mechanic technology courses. In addition, I would but junk motors and transmissions, disassemble them to see how they work.

I bought my first vehicle when I was 16 years old, 1969 Plymouth Roadrunner. I paid $200.00 and the seller said it just needed a starter. Naively, I believed him. It needed a engine, transmission and rear differential. My boss at the time said, I will show you how to build them.

He guided me and helped me. I built my first engine, transmission and differential at 16 years of age. My boss had many Mopar engines, transmission and differentials.

When I was in high school I was picked out of the class to do head gaskets for the principle of my school. He paid me with just a timing light (lol).

I went to college to get out of the automotive field, because of the stereotype of being called a "Grease Monkey", a loser profession. These words are still hurtful to me today!!


I had a mechanical engineer come into my business about 20 years ago, and said, "it is impressive that you have all these degrees, but, what are you doing in a place like this?" My comment was, "I love what I do". Again, the stereotype on what the public portrays our industry. Technicians today in my mind are considered Junior Engineers! They should be acknowledged on their expertise!

How long have you worked as a service professional?

I have been in the automotive industry for 45 years.

What role has being ASE Certified played in your journey?

ASE has provided me and my employees the opportunity to continue to grow and learn as the technology changes.

What ASE Certifications do you currently hold?

Master Technician and Advanced level specialist.

What are some of the top challenges you do/did face as a service professional and how do/did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge I encounter is getting the correct information for a specific vehicle. I will explore all resources to receive the correct information.

Do you have any advice for today’s students who might be thinking about entering the automotive industry or becoming a service professional?

Yes!! You have to be passionate to enter in the automotive industry. You have to educate yourself in the electrical diagnostics.

What do you like most about being an automotive service professional?

Problem solving that are challenging. Its a good feeling you resolved or repaired someone vehicle that others could not.

We all know that the automotive industry is highly technical. Especially in the electrical field. I have been explaining to technicians that they have to gain more knowledge and experience in the electronics of an automobile. More than just using a hand held scanner to retain codes. You must take the initiative in order to diagnose and repair these vehicles correctly.