This article is part of an ongoing series to highlight and promote the technician career — demonstrating to kids, parents, and teachers how becoming a technician is a rewarding career path that can be lucrative and open the door to many opportunities within the industry. Are you a technician who would like to be spotlighted? Sign up!
Technician Spotlight: Matt F.
Name: Matt F.
Job Title: Diagnostic Technician/Shop Manager
Industry Experience: 25 years
How did you get started in the automotive industry?
At first, I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Cars were not a passion of mine, but problem-solving definitely was. Growing up, my grandparents owned a farm implement dealership, and I spent a lot of time there. One day in my high school shop class, an automotive technology instructor from the local technical college visited. He spoke about auto repair as a career path. I didn’t pay much attention, but he started holding up parts of a car, and asking if we knew what they were. From being at my grandparents farm implement dealership as a kid, I could name them all. The instructor went back to his office, called my parents, and told them what a bright future I could have in auto repair, so I gave it a try. On the first day of my college class, we got to tour the shop, looking at hoists and tools, etc. A car was set up with a scan tool and was graphing data on a computer. From then on, I was hooked. I graduated school and worked for an independent shop that hired me because I wanted to do diagnostics. I was no longer getting beat-up on electrical issues and simple diagnoses. The shop went from only scheduling me a couple of cars per day to not being able to give me enough cars to keep me busy.
What is your favorite part of being a technician?
The puzzles and problem-solving. I have also always liked technology. I like that every day is different with new challenges. One day I may have a bunch of check engine lights to diagnose, and the next I may have an electrical problem on a collision vehicle.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone looking to enter the industry?
Be patient. There is a lot to learn, and no one knows it all. Study. Study. Study. Don’t just study books, but study what other technicians do as well. Find a good shop/manager/boss to work for. Work for someone that is interested in grooming you to become a master technician or master of your craft. Yes, you may start on a lube rack. Use that time to show your attitude, work ethic, and ability to learn and improve. Another great piece of advice is to learn to network. Social media makes it ridiculously easy, but you can also join professional groups and attend training events. Create relationships with others with similar goals and positions in the profession to learn and grow in the trade together. Having people available to not only answer a question or give an opinion, but also push you is priceless.
What has being a technician taught you the most/ What skills has your career given you?
It’s taught me that professional automotive technicians know a lot of stuff. We know electrical, HVAC, fluid power/hydraulics, physics, chemistry, and the list goes on. We use linear and non-linear thinking all the time, every day. Not many careers require that.
What are some short-term and long-term goals you have for yourself?
Short and long-term goal is to keep staying up on the latest technology. That’s a big goal in itself. I also have a podcast coming out with the Aftermarket Radio Network that I hope is successful. I hope I can offer ideas and help for multiple areas of the profession.
What do you wish more people, especially high schools, knew about the profession?
The days of the “grease monkey” mentality are gone and have been for some time. The profession that “did not need academic skills” no longer exists.
What would you say to someone who is trying to decide if this is a good career?
This is truly an essential profession by almost any measurement. If you have a good attitude, you can write your ticket anywhere you want to go. Do you like the idea of living in Alaska? You’ll probably have a job before you land. Do you want to live somewhere warm? Same thing. That’s a lot of freedom and peace of mind that many careers cannot offer.