Jose Feliciano
Lead Technician
Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services
Orlando, FL

What is your position in the industry?

Lead Diesel Technician at Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services (Dickinson Fleet Services), Orlando South. My role includes running diagnostics and helping other technicians in our shop with repairs.

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

I didn’t intend to be a technician, but my dad had a shop back in Puerto Rico where I spent a lot of my time growing up. I also did a lot of racing. Racing is where I started to learn how to build and modify cars. I wanted to be able to work on my vehicles rather than needing to take them into a shop.

When deciding on my career path, I knew I was good at technician work, so I studied to become an auto technician at Mektek and then started my career. Later, I came across a great opportunity with Dickinson Fleet Services. I knew very little about heavy-duty trucks, and it was exciting to learn something new. I had some familiarity with trucks before making the switch to diesel, which helped make the transition smoother. I took every opportunity to learn, grow and build my skillset. Over time, I grew into one of the best diesel technicians at Dickinson Fleet Services.

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

I started back in Puerto Rico where I went to night school and then worked during the day at a shop. I would work during the day until 4 p.m., drive 30 minutes to school from 5-10 p.m., then start again the next day at 6 a.m. It was a challenge, but the experience helped me grow and I was able to implement what I was learning at school the next day at work.

How long have you worked as a service professional?

I have been working as a diesel technician at Dickinson for seven years (now Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services), but I have been a technician since 2007 when I started working in a shop.

What role has being ASE Certified played in your journey?

I first got my ASE certification in engine and transmission when I was looking for a job. Having the certification helped me start working at an above entry-level position. I continued the courses and got the rest of my automotive ASE certifications and became an ASE Master Automobile Technician. These certifications are a confidence booster especially when you have a difficult task. Just taking a step back when you are not sure what to do and knowing these certifications mean you have the tools to get the job done.

What ASE Certifications do you currently hold?

First, I received the Master Automobile Technician certification. Then when I started working for Dickinson, I knew I wanted to continue working on trucks so I earned the Master Medium/Heavy Truck Technicians certification, as well.

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

One challenge I learned to overcome, and still sometimes face as a leader in the shop, is frustration. When I can’t figure something out, or things are not going the way I intended them to, it is important to be patient. Take a step back, go do a different job and then come back and figure it out. Patience is a big part of being a mechanic. Not every day is going to be easy, and when you have your hard days, they really test you. You just have to be ready to take on the challenge. It is also important to rely on other team members in those situations. No one has the answer to everything, and you also never know who might have the solution.

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

I would say if the technician industry interests you, go ahead and try it. You can start and love it or start and move to a different branch. For example, I didn’t think I was going to like it that much, and now I forget it is my job because I enjoy doing it! I would also say you have to stay up-to-date and be open to learning new things no matter what field you are in. Especially in the automotive industry when trucks change every year—giving you a new engine and transmission to work with—you must stay on top of the technology and new features.

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

I feel like I have a purpose and I am useful. I am also helping others do their job. Especially right now, we are short on truck drivers so every truck we have on the road is a plus.

As the leader of a shop, I would say it is important to set the team up for success. To do this you need to know your team’s strengths and limitations. They also need to see you will take the time to work through things with them rather than just giving them tasks and expecting them to know how to do it afterward.