Written by Tony Molla
Parents, if becoming an automotive technician is not high on your list of career choices for your child, perhaps it’s time to look again.
Automotive service and repair has changed dramatically in just the span of a generation. Working in the automotive service and repair industry is now one of the high-tech careers that is always in demand and can’t be outsourced overseas.
Sophisticated computerized control systems, unheard of 30 years ago, are now standard equipment on much of the nation’s fleet of vehicles. Modern advanced driver assist systems (ADAS), such as stability and traction control, adaptive cruise control, automatic braking and variable valve timing, just to name a few, are part of the rolling computer network we use every day for personal transportation.
In the 21st century, hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles are commonplace; hydrogen fuel cell and other alternative fuel vehicles are deployed in municipal fleets around the country, and internet connections, voice recognition commands and GPS mapping are available in economy to luxury models.
Given the advance of technology and a richly varied automotive industry that offers an array of positions and career paths, the future is bright for talented young people with math, science, communications and technical skills. And unlike many high-tech careers that require four, six or even eight years of college, automotive technology careers can begin after just two years of education.
As with any career, lifelong learning and continuing education is necessary, but the simple fact is that students in automotive technology can get out into the real world sooner – and with less college debt.
This is the first of a series of blogs wherein we’ll explore the wealth of choices and opportunities a career in the automotive service industry can offer. I think you’ll find it an enlightening journey. Next up: job prospects and career paths that may surprise you.
Written by Gary Ledoux
For years, the National (then later the International) Autobody Congress and Exposition, better known simply as NACE—later combined with the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service, better known simply as CARS—had been the premier trade show for the collision industry.
Driven by its sponsoring organization, the Automotive Service Association(ASA), the NACE show saw terrific growth in its early years, then fell into a long decline.
There will be no NACE show for 2019. So what happened?
Founding and Growth
Sponsored by the then-premier automotive repair organizations of their time, the Independent Automotive Service Association and the Automotive Service Councils, the first NACE show was held in November 1983 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. Prior to this time, there had been a number of small, regional shows sponsored by local auto body associations, but this was the first show of its kind on a national scale. The first show proved popular and exceeded expectations.
NACE came along at precisely the right time in the evolution of the industry. In the summer of 1983, a spot survey of shops conducted by the trade media asked how many had attended a national or local trade show. Close to 80 percent had recently been to a trade show, and over 90 percent had been to one in the past two years. Those who did attend said they wanted to look at the latest equipment and keep up on repair techniques and trends. Those who didn’t attend claimed there were no shows in their area, or they just didn’t have time to go—being so busy just to stay afloat. The first show saw 171 exhibitor booths and about 1,500 attendees.
Reaching Its Peak
In the early ‘80s, shops were on a buying frenzy securing new equipment to work on the new unibody cars. A trade show was the ideal place to see the equipment, talk with manufacturer reps and network with other shop owners.
Only two years later, in 1985, NACE attendees exceeded 4,000. In 1986, attendance exceeded 6,200, and by 1988, attendance broke 10,000. The last show of the decade saw more than 15,000 attendees.