Fernando Mendoza
Lead Technician Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services

What is your position in the industry?
My role as a lead technician with Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services is overseeing two shops. I do computer work as well as making sure the inventory is stocked. However, I am not just on the floor at all times, I also have to balance multiple tasks at a time such as working with the coordinator and my other tech to cover all the automobiles that come in.

Tell us about yourself. What made you decide to become a service professional?
When I first started, I was doing side jobs with my dad at nine years old, and I really liked the fact that there were always different problems and solutions. Also, my uncle owned a shop, so I already was interested at an early age in fixing cars. Soon after I started at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) and completed my Associates in Automotive / Diesel Technology, I jumped into working in different fields and started my first job in 2010. I have worked on a lot of different pieces of equipment such as cellphone towers, cement mixers, mining, vehicles, and fire trucks, and now I’m working at Cox.

Where/How did you get your training to get the knowledge you have today?
Besides UTI, I always jumped into learning how different things operate so that I can fix them. Slowly, I started getting more and more hands-on training and learning about the different vehicles in general.

How long have you worked as a service professional?
I have been at Cox for eight months but have been working in the industry for 12 years.

What role has being ASE Certified played in your journey?
The knowledge aspect of it helped me a lot because you see the study material in real life. You get very basic knowledge of what you are looking at in real time. Being ASE certified gave me a competitive edge, showed my dedication, and proved I was willing to put in the work to get the certification.

What ASE Certifications do you currently hold?
I currently hold the ASE Automotive Master certification and Medium Heavy-Duty Truck certification.

What are some of the top challenges you do/did face as a service professional and how do/did you overcome them?
Working on something that I have never been trained on can be challenging, but it is very rewarding to do your research, learn about it, and be able to solve it. For resources, YouTube and Google are good places to start, but also going back to the ASE content. Don’t forget it is there as a tool.

Another challenge I faced occurred when I was working on an airport firetruck, and we spent about two weeks trying to figure the truck out and we would have never found the issue if it wasn’t for the diagram that was provided by the truck company. There was pressure because the airport needs a certain number of fire vehicles working in order to operate normally, but we were able to overcome this as a team.

Do you have any advice for today’s students who might be thinking about entering the automotive industry or becoming a service professional?
My advice would be to never give up, because once you figure it out and learn the trade, that knowledge is never going to leave you. I would also suggest getting your ASE certification because they come in handy as well.

What do you like most about being an automotive service professional?
Being able to help people and solve complex issues. You have very nice people whose vehicles are their offices, so being able to help them is a big reason. It is also rewarding to build relationships with people who you help out.