Gary Southard
ASE Master Medium/ Heavy Truck Technician
Green for Life Environmental
Lebanon, MO

What is your position in the industry?

ASE Master Fleet Diesel Technician in the waste industry, that knows the importance of keeping the equipment running and running right.

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

My decision to become a technician really wasn't a decision. It always just made sense for me to be working in this field I was always interested in how things worked and as I got older that became vehicles and equipment.

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

I have worked on everything from race boats, to tanks, to trash trucks, and I have worked with some amazing mechanics along the way that took me under their wing to teach and pass this career on. I have be to some OEM training courses but most of the real world experience came from asking questions and getting my hands dirty.I got the majority of my training from asking a lot of questions, and working with a lot of people that took the time to teach a young kid.

How long have you worked as a service professional?

I have been a technician for 20 years, before that I was in high school and may after school job was cleaning up a muffler shop and getting to do minor work to start my education.

What role has being ASE Certified played in your journey?

Being ASE Certified has played an important role because it show people that I am a professional, that has put the time, to be a master at my craft, it also shows that I'm not just talking I know what I'm doing and I have proved.

What ASE Certifications do you currently hold?

Currently a Master Med/Heavy truck Tech.

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

I think the biggest challenge to being a technician in todays world is keeping on top of all the technological advances, and how to repair them, but I wouldn't say that is exactly a challenge, I think it also part of what makes the career so much fun. You constantly get to learn.

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

You will not know everything when you start, none of us did. You have to start somewhere, so don't be afraid to ask questions, and get in there and get your hands dirty, you probably know more than you think.

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

The thing that I enjoy about be a technician today is the same thing that I liked when I started. When you fix something, even as simple as a light, I still get excited that it works when I'm done. Also getting to help people - the majority of people in today's world do not have a lot of mechanical knowledge. When you get to work on their equipment of automobile, just about every job is pretty severe for them, but when you can get it fixed, and it wasn’t as bad as they thought it was, that's pretty awesome too.

If you are interested a career in this field, you should take a look at the industry, its a great career path with a lot of growth potential as long as you are willing to get your hands dirty and learn.