Here at Wrenchway, we are always working to think of new and creative ways to share the knowledge, skill level, and hard work it takes to be an automotive technician. This is why we started our technicians spotlight series. These articles are 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.

Location: Sterling Heights, Michigan
Experience: 37 year
Job Title: Head Senior Technician

I recently sat down with Dale T., Head Senior Technician, to discuss how he became a technician, the changes he has seen within the automotive industry, and advice for young people when looking to join the industry.

Dale’s Story

Dale had a more unusual journey into the automotive industry. He was never extremely interested in automotive as a kid. He got a job at a Shell station pumping gas, back in the day when that was popular.

During high school, Dale took a few automotive classes. The instructor was pushing him to get state certifications, and that’s how it happened. From there, he’s been with the same company for 36 years.

The people he works with at the shop were neighbors he grew up with, and it’s a nice family atmosphere. Over time and years of working there, Dale wanted to get more involved in the automotive field. However, he was more intrigued with the new technology coming out than the actual automotive itself.

Dales knows everybody wants to make a lot of money in the industry. That is an important part of having a job. But it’s important for technicians to be happy with where they’re working, who they’re working with, and just overall enjoy getting up and going into work every morning.

“Working with good people makes a huge difference. I suggest to someone looking to get into this industry, yes look at wages and benefits, but definitely look at the people you’re going to be working with because that makes a big difference on longevity and enjoying your job.”
Dale T., Head Senior Technician

The Best Thing About Being a Tech

One of Dale’s favorite things about being a technician is the freedom and flexibility. He works under a manager/owner, but still gets to be his own employee. He also loves that no two days are the same—it’s not the same monotonous thing over and over again.

“You’re given a lot of flexibility in what you’re doing and working on. It’s something different every day. You could have a line of the same three cars sitting in the parking lot, but each one is going to have a different problem”
Dale T., Head Senior Technician

How the Industry Has Changed

With 37 years of experience, Dale has seen many changes within the industry. Every year the vehicles get more and more advanced. Not only have the vehicles evolved, but so have the tools Dale is using.

Back when Dale started out, he was using big sun scopes. There were a lot of wires hooked up to the ignition coil, and a lot has changed since then. It was the technology that drove Dale into this industry, and it’s what keeps him excited for the future of the industry.

“Now you can just sit in a car with your cell phone and actually diagnose it. The portability is very advanced.”
Dale T., Head Senior Technician

The Skills Learned in the Industry

Working in this industry has given Dale a countless amount of skills. This industry has taught him welding, electronics, computer controls, and plumbing. They are life skills that help to do a lot of stuff around the house. The biggest skill he has learned is electrical.

“In order to progress and be better in the trade, keep up on electrical. That’s going to vastly improve your skills and how much money you make.”
Dale T., Head Senior Technician

Advice to Future Technicians

Dale wants future technicians to know that they need to look at this industry as an investment when first starting out. Don’t buy the largest tool box right from the get go. Get your feet wet in the industry, and just get what you need to get started. As you start working week-to-week and month-to-month, you’re going to realize what you need.

He also wants to let future technicians know that they are going to need a lot of patience. There are going to be days where you get very frustrated. Just walk away, and move on to a different car for a little bit. It could be a simple fix, but in that moment you might be too frustrated to realize it.

It’s also important to not be afraid to ask questions. That is why Dale focuses on working with people he enjoys. He feels comfortable asking his coworkers questions or for help on a car. If you enjoy the people you’re working with, that makes a big difference.

“It’s all about teamwork, believe me. The two or three times you ask somebody to come and help you, you’re going to go and help them eventually so it all works hand-in-hand. “
Dale T., Head Senior Technician

Final Thoughts

Dale believes this is a trade that’s continually evolving, and with electric vehicles, there’s always going to be a massive demand for technicians. He wants to tell people not to be afraid to look into automotive repair because it’s a very good paying job, but comes with a lot of responsibility too.

“I think it’s a good trade to get into and in general it’s something that will do you good in the long run, and it’s not going anywhere.”
Dale T., Head Senior Technician

Watch the Full Interview

Dale Techel Spotlight Image

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