Daniel Martinez found jobs in local Catawba County industry right after graduation from Newton-Conover High School in 2011. The paychecks were welcome from his work in warehouses and in furniture manufacturing. However, he felt the excitement and sense of accomplishment in his daily work were missing. He began saving his money to return to college because he knew he needed a different challenge to keep him energized and motivated.
Catawba Valley Community College (CVCC) offered a program that Martinez had heard about from other students—Automotive Technology. Gary Muller, Dean of the School of Business, Industry and Technology at CVCC, guides the highly successful automotive program under the direction of ASE certified Master Automobile Technician James “Eddie” Roane, Jr.
Martinez admits that “It was difficult getting up in the morning knowing I did not like my previous jobs, but I would tell myself that the work was only temporary until I saved the funds to start school to enter this program.” His dream to use his hands to repair cars in a dealership has begun with his CVCC classes in August of 2016.
As a young man, Martinez was curious about the work that he saw in a mechanic’s shop. The parts of the car were interesting to him and he admired the way in which the mechanic could select the right tools to accomplish a repair. “Solving automobile problems may be a dirty job, but I am not afraid to get dirty while making a car work properly again.”
As a result of this curiosity, at age seventeen he began to experiment on his own by attempting do-it-yourself projects on his vehicle as well as friends’ and family members’ cars. He soon learned that his knowledge was limited on some systems that operate the car, which led to asking questions and doing research.
The satisfaction he felt when repairing minor problems revealed his true interests. By repairing a broken part and installing it again, he found a sense of accomplishment that he enjoyed. He stated, “I am not a professional yet, but the skills needed to repair a car has definitely captured my attention.
Martinez chose Catawba Valley Community college to continue following his dream of becoming a professional automotive technician. He said, “I am enrolled in automotive technology classes to gain the knowledge required to repair and correct problems with cars. My goal is to get a job at a car dealership, working as an automotive technician.”
Students from Catawba Valley Community College have earned two first place awards as State Champions in recent years in the Skills USA challenge. Instructor Roane is excited about the Automotive Program and has a close working relationship with a number of auto dealerships in the surrounding area. He says that the program of study is both hands-on and academic, promoting automotive service excellence in the graduates. CVCC is also a member of the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
Finding a technical career that matched his interests was an inspiring moment for this new community college student. “No one in my family has earned a college degree. My parents would be happy for me to earn a college degree and become successful as an automotive technician. That is why I will be trying my very best to succeed at CVCC because, to me, failure in life is not an option.”
Click here to learn more about CVCC’s Automotive Systems Technology program.