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Automotive Technology Advisory Council Minutes

March 17th, 2009

Members in attendance:
Eric Hart - University Honda, Steve DePiero - Willamette Auto, Randy Smith – RGS Auto & Marine, David Sumey - Evergreen Import & Repair, Jim Burke - Benton County Public Works, Bob Durham - Claytons Auto Repair, Chris Schaffner - Certified Automotive
Also attending:
Margaret Ragan - Special Projects Coordinator - Northwest Automotive Trades Association
Lee Hall - Director of Marketing and Education Programs - Oregon Auto Dealers Association
Dan Lara - LBCC Dean of Science Technology and Engineering
LBCC Automotive Technology faculty & Staff present:
J O Walker, Steve Fiorito, Bryan Schiedler, R J Ehlers, Phil Krolick

We opened the meeting with introductions and a discussion on what entry level employment opportunities are most appropriate for older students, retraining from other careers.   Service Writing skills seemed a good fit.   Students who have good communication skills, computer skills and are able project confidence with automotive service issues are good candidates for a career as a service writer.   While in our program they should focus on learning shop management software similar to Mitchell1, All Data, or Shop Key.   Entry level positions are available and the average annual earnings for experienced service advisors are approximately $39,000 to $58,000 (this link no longer works - sorry)

We then discussed cutbacks to our program due to State-wide budget crisis.   The LBCC collision repair program has been closed and Automotive Technology has been allowed 50% fewer course offerings for the first year of our two year program.   We used to allow for 32-34 students in our first year with about 20-22 students returning the second year.   Now we only have room for 16-18 students in the first year.   We need figure out how to ensure a higher percentage returning for the second year to keep our program viable, or change how we structure our 2 year program.

We brainstormed a required introductory course for all new automotive students.   This would count toward our degree as Career Work Experience (CWE).   The outcome is to orient new students to the realities, opportunities, and expectations they will encounter as they pursue a career in this field.   This CWE course will ask the student to visit a variety of dealership and independent businesses.   They will have a set of interview questions to discuss with the owner or manager, a service technician, a service writer, an entry level employee, etc.   We need to carefully design this CWE experience to ensure a realistic exposure to the industry that is not too time consuming for local employers.   Feedback from the businesses visited could help a student learn if shop managers will consider them for entry level employment, and what they might need to improve their chances for employment.   Dan Lara suggested a carefully designed rubrics would help guide and evaluate this CWE experience.

We next discussed state labor statistics showing demand for Automotive technicians in Linn County is low even though statewide demand has Automotive Technicians in the top 10 for all occupations.   Members present stated they do not use the State Department of Labor Unemployment Office when looking for new or replacement employees.

The third agenda item was our Skills USA competition on Saturday April 11th.   We have worked with Kevin Mathweg from Umpqua Community College on this competition.   The written test has been altered to provide more basic skills at the high school level, and more professional level skills to the college contestants.   Testing will include the 8 ASE areas and Personal Protective Equipment/Hazardous Waste.

We need 18 judges (16 for test stations 1 to supervise written test and 1 time keeper).   Judges should arrive by 7:30 and will be done around 1:00   Randy Smith, Chris Schaffner, Jim Burke and Bob Durham volunteered to act as Judges.   Margaret Ragan stated she had 7 volunteers from the Portland area and should be able to get more as needed.

Jim Burke stated that late model vehicles could be available from the county fleet for use in this competition.   Margaret Regan offered to ask judges is they might be willing to make aftermarket scan tools available for the competition.   This would provide more opportunity for students to use a familiar scan tool instead of having to learn a new tool during the competition.

Our last agenda item was presented by Bryan Schiedler who is investigating a partnership with Snap-On Diagnostics.   He stated that this could be a six year project and a good opportunity to expand our program.   Snap-On provides the guidance of professionals experienced with shop design and layout as well as bringing in quality curriculum materials.   In the discussion it was mentioned that Clackamas Community College originally was concerned about the initial expense of purchasing Snap-On diagnostic equipment.   They are offering a course on the Snap-On scan tool and we might ask how their program has partnered with Snap-On.

A final announcement was made by Margaret Ragan on upcoming Air Conditioning seminars sponsored by NATA to be held in Portland, Springfield and Salem.   If you are interested in more details contact her at Northwest Automotive Trades Association 503-253-9898


Automotive Technology Advisory Council Minutes

November 4th, 2008

Members in attendance: Eric Hart - University Honda,   Steve DePiero - Willamette Auto,   Randy Smith – RGS Auto & Marine,   David Sumey - Evergreen Import & Repair
Also attending: J O Walker, Bryan Schiedler, R J Ehlers Phil Krolick

We began this meeting announcing the Skills USA competition will be held at LBCC on Saturday April 11th.   This contest includes high school and community college automotive technology students from all over Oregon.  There is a need to get early notice out to local shops advertising the call for participation in this contest.   Specifically we are looking for volunteers to create and or judge enough testing stations to cover all 8 of the ASE certification areas.

The main focus of our meeting was to assess our program outcome to “Communicate clearly, with team members and customers”.   Each advisory member reviewed work orders completed by our students over the past two years.   We found students are not including enough information on the nature of the complaint and the diagnostic and/or inspection procedures they complete on each vehicle.   It is important to create a repair story the customer can understand explaining what was inspected, what diagnostic tests were made, and include the results of each step.

A second issue is students are completing work orders with pen and paper while most shops use computer generated work orders.   Dave Sumey is using a form that Bethea created on Quick Books.   This could be an inexpensive software option to give our students experience using electronic work orders.

Our Anti-lock Brake Systems class is struggling with finding a scan tool that will communicate with ABS control modules.   Steve DePiero is using the Solus scan tool.   He rarely has ABS related repairs however finds this scan tool extremely powerful with the Troubleshooter and Tech Tip functions.   Eric Hart explained Honda uses the HDS Diagnostic scanner.   This is a laptop scan tool very similar to the Ford Rotunda IDS.   His technicians also use the Modis scan tool for all non-Honda repairs.

We ended the meeting with a general brainstorming on how to improve the overall quality of our educational program.

Eric Hart mentioned that Monte Wolverton, the Northwest Training Coordinator for Honda, was interested in learning more about our Automotive Technology program here at LBCC.   We are excited to hear this and look forward to discussing our program with Honda.

Randy Smith mentioned that ASE is offering an online TechQuiz designed to help individuals prepare for the ASE certification tests, or help identify areas needing improvement.   We will consider using this service to help assess our student’s progress.   Details are at

Our second year student schedules have changed this year.   They are often done with our classes by Noon opening the door to potential part time employment.   It was suggested we contact local dealerships and repair shops to find potential employers for students seeking part time experience with the added benefit of advertising our need for participation in the upcoming Skills USA competition.


Automotive Technology Advisory Counsel Minutes

Julyth, 2008

Contributing Members: Jim Burke, Robert Durham, Eric Hart, David Sumey, Troy Williams
LBCC Faculty: Bryan Schiedler,  R J Ehlers  Phil Krolick

This “virtual” advising meeting was called in response to a dilemma faced by a student enrolled in our first year automotive technology classes.   We encourage all students to find work as apprentice technicians over the summer.  This student did not have a valid driver’s license and was asking for help getting a job.

The primary purpose of conducting this meeting electronically was to get timely feedback on how critical the driving record is to the hiring process.   As we do advising for new students over the summer, we felt it critical to provide accurate advice to interested students who may have a poor driving record.   All responding members emphasized the importance of a good driving record.  Here are excerpts of comments we will use during our new student advising process.


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