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: Melissa H.
Name: Melissa H.
Location: Littleton, CO
Job Title: Automotive Technician
Industry Experience: 27 years
How did you get started in the automotive industry?
I had an older brother, and we had a lot of dirt bikes and go karts. I would always play around with them, work on them, and learn. It started to become a way of life and something I loved to do. A lot of my guy friends would bring bicycles and dirt bikes over to my house, and I already knew how to fix them so I would do it for them.
These early experiences led me to go to Warren Tech in Colorado. I won first place in a lot of the Colorado state troubleshooting competitions. I even went to nationals and took 7th place out of 100 competitors. At that point, I realized I was good at this, and it would become a career for me.
What is your favorite part of being a technician?
Whether it’s an issue with a customer or the technology involved in a car, the best part about being a technician are the little wins that you get when you figure out tough problems other people are struggling with.
What’s the best advice you can give to someone looking to enter the industry?
The best advice I can give to someone is to stay diligent and study. Teamwork is also huge — try to get along with the people you’re working with, and see the good qualities in your team. If you find an easier way to do something, or if you see someone struggling with it, help them out and be a team player. If you help them and they help you, then everybody shares the knowledge. In the long run, everybody comes out winning.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen roll into your shop?
There was a brand new G37 that was following a very old fire truck down the highway. A little pipe that was about 75 pounds of pure iron came loose off the fire truck, and fell onto the highway and totaled the G37. Due to the weight of the pipe, the car ran over the pipe and tore the bottom of the body in three places, cracked the engine, and destroyed everything. I had to take this car completely apart to bare body. I have never seen a tiny piece of metal do so much damage!
What are the greatest skills have you learned as a technician?
You’re a plumber, an electrician, a diagnostics technician, and a mechanical engineer at the same time. If you want to be in automotive technology, you have to be a jack of all trades in order to be successful. Resourcefulness is one of the biggest skill sets I’ve gotten out of it. I started learning coding which was amazing, and it just opened the door for me to the world of technology. You have to know tech in order to be a tech.
Any final thoughts?
I’m excited people want to come into this industry, and I’m excited people are trying to come up with ways to improve the industry. It makes me happy these questions are being asked, and I definitely think it’s going to be important in making things go in the direction it needs to go. I feel like things are headed in an upward direction which is great, and I’m positive it will.