The Tech You Need May be Right in Front of You

Industry leaders, DRIVE executives plus students and teachers convene at DRIVE EXPO 2022 in Orlando, Florida.



L2R: David Saline of DRIVE, Chris Scully of DRIVE, Jim Goepfrich of ASE, Jim Reed of Repair Aces, Mike Parnitzke of Repair Aces

During the highly successful 4-day DRIVE EXPO 2022 recently held in Orlando, Florida, a panel was conducted featuring auto aftermarket associations, DRIVE executives, teachers of automotive arts and most importantly, their young tech students.


With the on-going need for shops to hire techs, DRIVE felt it was crucial to feature an event within the annual EXPO, to exclusively focus on hiring and recruiting. But the goal was to take the topic a step further and present practical information a shop owner can use in their business. Inviting tech students and teachers to this session was a key component to create the back-and-forth of what employers, on the one side, want and what soon-to-be job searching auto techs expect from their end.


Partnering with ASE was key in bringing together the panel and to inviting local tech teachers and students. Jim Goepfrich, ASE Education Foundation Field Manager says, “There is no shortage of potential Technicians in the pipeline, only a shortage of known career paths to our industry. The best way for shop owners to tap this huge resource is to recruit students early. To do that, get involved in the schools. The very best way for shop owners to go is the ASE Education Foundation Adopt-a-School program.”


Also on the panel was Mike Parnitzke, Executive Director of ACES, a trucking association that includes truck repair business owners. “The ACES team was thrilled to participate in the panel discussion. It was inspiring to see the high energy, insightful questions and especially the enthusiasm of the high school student technicians. Our hope is that we were able to effectively instill in them the message that the repair industry takes their future development seriously and that we are committed to taking the reins of leadership to ensure their career choices take each of them as far as their dreams allow”


With DRIVE clients in attendance who are successful shop owners, plus the inclusion of young and talented tech students together, the event was a hands-on, supportive and spirited discussion. Shop owners wanted to talk with the students in attendance and support their passion for the industry.


Shop owner John Starkey of Starkey’s Auto Repair of Honolulu, stood up and invited these future techs to his shop in Hawaii. Needless to say, John’s invitation was enthusiastically supported by everyone attending. “Engaging with the tech students at DRIVE EXPO in Orlando was fantastic!” says John. “I loved hearing what they had to say about their passion for the industry and how they are preparing for their future,” John added.


Student guests on the DRIVE EXPO floor.

At the conclusion of this 2-hour meeting, the invited students and teachers were encouraged to attend workshops through the day plus walk the Expo floor which included over 45 vendors specifically chosen for shop owners. The feedback from the tech students is that they were ‘overwhelmed’ with the information, encouragement and the possibilities available to them at the DRIVE EXPO.


Michael A. Broud, Heritage High School Automotive Maintenance & Light Repair Teacher, brought an enthusiastic group of tech students to the DRIVE EXPO. Michael has been teaching for 16 years and is also an ASE Master Technician. “This is the best place for them to grow their business and grow their own techs right in their own community. I thought it was great that people were willing to talk to my young students, give them advice and offer them a job at such a young age.”


When asked what his students gain by joining his program, Michael quickly responded, “A sense of worth as they grow! It has been an unintended but welcome surprise. My students get to work on other teachers’ cars and it gives them a sense of worth that they have never known in life. It is truly magical to see it firsthand.”


At the heart of this specific panel, plus the entire 4-day DRIVE EXPO was the goal of helping independent shop owners. That is the aim of the entire DRIVE team. David Saline, Vice President of Sales & Services with DRIVE, moderated the panel. “There is nothing better then seeing young techs meeting with our clients. The sense of industry support and the enthusiasm of the students was awesome. We can’t wait to continue this conversation with all of the panel members, teachers and students.”


Don’t miss DRIVE EXPO 2023 in Las Vegas September 14-17, 2023 at the Westgate Hotel. Register Today here!