Kenny Bridges
District Manager
VIP Tires & Service
Northern Maine

What is your position in the industry?

District Manager of VIP Tires & Service - Northern Maine.

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

I have always enjoyed working on cars and gaining knowledge from others on how to properly diagnose and repair vehicles. I’ll never forget the day that I decided to become a service professional. We were holding our yearly all associate meetings where the Owner, President and Vice President of VIP take time and meet with every employee in the company. During the meeting we were talking about something called ASE World Class at that time I had never heard of this. During one of the breaks I grabbed my phone and looked it up. From that day forward I set my sights on becoming one of the ASE World Class technicians. With the support of the company backing my journey 100% from supplying the study guides to paying for all the testing I started taking tests and studying. In 2017 three years later and 22 tests later I completed my journey to becoming an ASE World Class Technician.

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

Training is always one of the most important parts of becoming a service professional. With the technology changing every year you must stay on top of all the changes. There are some great webinars offered by ASE, but it does not stop there. Almost every parts supplier offers training, over the years I have attended many trainings that are offered. O'Reilly Auto Parts offers some of the best training that I have been to called Real World Training they are usually at night after the repair shops close. The other training that really helped me gain knowledge was hands on training classes that are offered by Garage Gurus. It’s all about making the time to gain the knowledge.

How long have you worked as a service professional?

In 2002, I started working at a local Car Dealership part-time in Ellsworth Maine when I was in Automotive Tech School. From there I have been working in the automotive field for my whole career so just over 20 years.

What role has being ASE Certified played in your journey?

Being ASE Certified has played a large role in my career. When you put the time and effort into becoming a certified professional people take notice. When you are explaining to a customer the issues that are present with their vehicle it builds a level of trust when you are a certified professional that is explaining to them what's going on.

What ASE Certifications do you currently hold?

A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9

B2 B3 B4 B5

T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8

C1 P2 G1 X1

L1 L2

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 that I have had is staying up to date on all the new technology that is going into vehicles. The best way that I have found to help overcome this is just staying up to date on all the training that is available and taking the time to research the common issues that the industry is having with vehicles.

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

The old persona of a "grease monkey" mechanic is something of the past. There are so many great opportunities in the Automotive field for everyone. With almost everything on a vehicle being computer controlled there are great opportunities out there for diagnostic technicians that excel with computer controlled devices.

Training and certifications will always stay with you, take the time to become the next trained and certified technician.

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

By far the best part about being an automotive service professional is that I can pass on the information learned over the years to the next generation of technicians. Its amazing feeling when you can take someone under your wing and see them grow in their career as a service professional.