Name: Stuart Renfrow
Employed by Gregory Poole Equipment
Raleigh, North Carolina
How long have you worked as an Auto Technician?
Stuart entered the automotive and heavy equipment maintenance and repair segment in 2017.
Why did you decide to become an Auto Technician?
It was a given that Stuart would enter the automotive industry. He has always worked on anything that is powered by a motor: lawn mower, all-terrain-vehicles, power equipment or even boats. He also enjoys open wheel racing at dirt-short tracks and regularly competes in drag-racing events.
Did you have any formal training?
Stuart took small engine maintenance and repair shop classes in high school. He then attended Johnson Community College, where he studied more on the fundamentals of automotive and heavy equipment.
Do you feel that trade school helped prep you for working in “The Real Word”?
“Yes indeed. I value the overall education that gave me the practical tools and knowledge base for expanded coverage of popular modes of transport: cars, trucks, boats, ATVs, and industrial earth moving equipment.”
About how he feels about the importance of training
Stuart supports training because it offers people the baseline foundation for mechanical equipment. “I believe that ASE is important. And GM requires ASE to my knowledge to be a master tech.”
How many different shops have your worked at?
Stuart has worked at three different dealerships. Honda, Chevrolet, and his current position is overhauling engines and transmissions for a Caterpillar dealership in Raleigh, North Carolina.
What ASE Certifications have you had?
G1 Auto Maintenance and Light Repair Certification.
Best piece of advice a mentor or instructor ever gave you?
Stuart accompanied a master tech at the Chevrolet dealership who gave him this piece of advice. “No matter what be patient with yourself. Take your time. Don’t let the customers pressure you if you’re running behind. Because otherwise rushing through it may result in poor work. Take your time at what you do, so there’s no come backs.” This was reinforced during his Caterpillar the two-week mentor program at Caterpillar where he learned that working safely also minimizes the employer’s liability of employee negligence, “because if you rush, you can get hurt when handling tools and equipment.”
What are some of your favorite jobs?
Working on big jobs like replacing engines and transmission work fires up Stuart. He goes onto to say, “I’ve always enjoyed doing transmission and engine swaps. I enjoy overhauls, which is what I now do for Caterpillar.
What do you enjoy most about being an automotive technician?
“For me it’s the satisfaction of making something that wasn’t working right useful again,
And making an automobile work again that would otherwise be useless,” says Stuart.
What are your words of wisdom for new auto technicians? —
Stuart encourages aspiring techs to keep an open mind to the new technology like EVs and hybrids and always be willing to learn new things. Stuart notes, “The biggest thing is that techs must be willing to invest the time into their career. Think of it more than a job. It must be a passion. If someone looks at this field as a nine-to-five job, they may not be as successful as the other person who finds repair work interesting.”
Did you ever get discouraged?
Whenever Stuart feels discouraged, he reminds himself of his unique abilities and strengths and avoids measuring oneself against others because it may unnecessarily create poor self-esteem. “Sometimes I’ll compare myself to somebody who has been repairing cars for ten or twenty years and I’ll have to remind myself that I haven’t been doing it as long as that person. And I don’t have that kind of experience.”
How do you see your job or this industry changing in the next 10 years?
“I see that there’s going to be lot more hybrid and electric coming into play. And at the same time, I hear all the time that companies are having a hard time finding people to work for them.” Even heavy equipment dealers have their own labor shortage worries. “Where I work now, [at George Poole Equipment], they’ve been looking for individuals to fill positions for months and they haven’t filled them yet.