Technician and Shop Owner
NGT Automotive in San Antonio Texas
- How long have you worked as an auto technician?
Ruben has been working as an auto technician for over 25 years
- Why did you decide to become an Auto Technician?
Rueben grew up in Monterrey Mexico where most people faced difficult living conditions meeting their daily needs. He had an uncle who helped him ‘put the wrench to a Dodge Ram pick-up truck’ and later worked with his Uncle fixing cars for the local community which inspired him to turn a hobby into a calling.
- Where did you get your training?
Ruben emigrated to Texas and attended the local automotive vocational institute after high school. He started acquiring hard skills working at a Chrysler dealership. He later attended the Chrysler Academy, had mentors along his journey and still takes advantage of classes offered by Federated, NAPA and O’Reilly. Ruben feels that continuing automotive education is an inseparable element of his DNA in his 25 years of repairing vehicles.
- How many different shops have your worked at? Ruben started working at a San Antonio Dealership. After that he switched to working at independent repair shops and eventually opened his own shop where his wife runs the front, and he works in the shop with an assistant/mentee.
- How best did your Mentors help you?
“They encouraged me to tinker and experiment. Game me the space to fail and overcome my shortcomings, which gradually built up my confidence.”
- The Mentee becomes the Mentor - Ruben enjoys giving back and helping young technicians. Because modern cars are so computerized, he tells his mentees that they must work patiently to fix a car properly. “It can be a long process with tons of training to be success technician. Again, do not get frustrated. Be patient.”
- What ASE Certifications do you have?
- ASE Certified Master Technician
- L1 Advanced Engine Performance Specialist Certification
- Ruben’s wife Terry has her ASE Service Consultant Certification
- What do you enjoy most about being an Automotive Technician?
As a practitioner of maintaining and repairing vehicles, Ruben derives satisfaction from improving his skills and expertise that benefit his clients.
- What are your words of wisdom for a new auto technician?
He advises aspiring technicians to master proper repair work, integrating a mechanical and computerized approach. “The Automotive trade requires commitment. Stay abreast of the merging of mechanical skills with high-tech computerized auto technology. The days of wrenching your way through the job is fading fast with the advancement of EVs and hybrids.”
He also feels that “There are great rewards other than a monetary payoff that come only if the tech puts the customer first.”
- Did you ever get discouraged turning wrenches?
Routine tune-up jobs or inspections jobs that turnout knotty occasionally frustrate Ruben. “Once in a while I do, but all that you can do is to keep working, be positive and keep fighting and you will eventually figure it out.”
- What did you do to motive yourself to keep moving forward?
Take an optimistic approach. Give yourself positive reinforcement. “Look at all the good things that happened and that will happen after that. Just relax and walk away from the work for a little bit and then come back and keep doing the best thing that you’re good at.”
- If you could have a “Do Over” – Would you have made your career working in the Auto Repair Industry? IF NO – what would you have done?
“I would have done everything exactly the same with the only difference that I would have started my business sooner. I was afraid of over investing, the responsibilities and home mortgages. It all turned out much better than I guessed; so yes, I would do it all over again,” tells Ruben.
- Why did you decide to open up your own shop instead of working for someone else?
Ruben and his wife opened their shop NGT: Next Generation Technician to pursue the American Dream to provide for their family. “Ever since I was a kid, I wanted a better future for me and my family. I wanted to buy a property, run the shop, and retire. Hopefully, my kids will follow that line and continue our family tradition.”
Many of NGT’s working-class clients come from modest means, explains Rueben, who can relate to their circumstances. NGT’s brand promise is: ‘We strive to work hard to get your vehicles repaired with high quality parts at an affordable price’. “Not only are we saving our customers money, but they trust that we’re doing things right, you know, diagnosing the true problem and not guessing at it,” says Rueben.
- What is your Dream Car?
“ Nothing fancy, just a regular Dodge pickup” says Ruben. Even though Ruben can afford to buy any car brand, his dream car remains the Dodge Pick-Up. Its symbol reminds him of hard work and to never to forget his roots.