Once again, we’re looking for the tech of the year. Too bad we only have one award to give out!
Out of the scores of nominations we receive, we routinely wind up with a dozen or so really great finalists, the kind of technicians that anyone would be proud to have on their team.
Winnowing down the nominations to a single winner has always been tough… but we’ve developed a “scoring” system that works pretty well. It consists of the nine basic qualities that any ambassador for our industry really needs to possess. And then there’s a tenth consideration that has proven very useful as a tie-breaker.
So what makes for a Canadian Technician of the Year? In our view, it boils down to the following attributes:
This is a no-brainer. A technician needs to be able to fix cars. Our best nominees are usually among the most productive and efficient in the shop.
In the era of the connected car, the best technicians think like computers, with a natural ability to locate electronic glitches. Without their super-sleuthing skills, the independent sector would have to cede a lot of work to automotive dealerships.
Customer service skills.
It seems that a fair number of technicians are the quiet type who are most content in their bays, elbows deep in a challenging job. That’s great… and it certainly doesn’t disqualify anyone from winning this award. But we also like to hear about technicians who are quick to interact with customers, and who help create a relaxed retail environment where people feel comfortable asking questions and dropping their cars off.
A leader in the shop.
We know that respect among technicians is earned through skill, cooperation, and generosity. We look for early adapters who lead by example, are slow to criticize and quick to encourage.
A leader in the industry.
There are lots of ways to make our industry stronger – from participation in provincial working groups to joining local associations designed to improve communication between shops. We’ve found that exemplary technicians are quick to share their experience and knowledge for the benefit of all.
A leader in their community.
Life is about more than just work. We’ve been inspired by technicians who’ve stepped up to help worthy causes and ambitious projects. Sometimes the extracurricular work involves their mechanical skills, but it may just as easily be completely unrelated to their working life. The bottom line, however, is all about improving the world around them.
A commitment to ongoing training.
In this field when you stop moving forward, you start going backward. Modern technology has accelerated the pace of change, to the point where the need to learn new things is unrelenting. A lot of our nominees are the first ones to sign up for a new class or education program.
A positive attitude.
We want to recognize those who have learned to embrace challenge, seize the day, and start every job with a smile. They’re the approachable ones who joke with the customers, get along with their peers, and set a great example for the next generation of techs.
Improves the image of our industry.
I truly believe our industry has begun to turn a corner on a public relations problem that has dogged it for decades. We’re improving our facilities, becoming more welcoming, and operating with greater transparency. Technicians can be among our greatest assets in winning public approval.
And what’s our bonus question? Well, that’s a little harder to explain. Maybe it’s enough to say we always keep our eye open for distinguishing characteristics and unusual circumstances that make someone’s career accomplishments all the more impressive, whether it’s overcoming some sort of adversity, or shouldering exceptional responsibilities.
Above all, we’re looking for a unique individual who is a model of success in our rapidly changing industry. We always say we’re looking for a well-rounded person who is a credit to their shop, their community, and the industry.
Do you know The Canadian Technician of the Year? We can’t wait to hear all about them.