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Feature   May 6, 2014   by Allan Janssen

Grow your own superstar

The next Canadian Technician of the Year might be hard at work in one of your bays!

We get so many great nominations every time we run our Canadian Technician of the Year award that it seems wrong to celebrate only one winner.

We’ve run the competition four times now, and each time judges faced an extremely difficult choice as they read through the scores of nomination essays – some of them complete with customer testimonials, civic citations, and professional honours.

I’ve always maintained that giving the award to just one person shouldn’t discount the achievements of the dozens of other nominees. Last year, in fact, the field of finalists was so strong that we took to publishing eight mini-profiles in the magazine. It gave the whole country a sense of the superstars in our midst.

As an industry, we should look for role models like these to inspire our apprentices.

I was particularly pleased to see a reader’s comment about one of our finalists that said, “Wow! I could sure use a guy like this in my shop.”

I’m sure a lot of shop owners read the profiles with a sense of envy. The search for good technicians seems to be an ever-present concern for an awful lot of shops these days. I know they’re out there. I meet them all the time at training courses and industry conferences. All I can say is that if you can’t find any superstars, you may have to grow your own!

All of the finalists in our Canadian Technician of the Year competition started out as apprentices. All of them had to develop their skills under the tutelage of others. All of them were held accountable by their employers and their teachers until they demonstrated the excellence to which we all strive.

Step one would be to sign up with a local college and take a chance on an eager young apprentice. It may not work out every time, but if you stick with the program, you’ll eventually strike gold.

Secondly, work closely with your existing technicians to foster good working habits, and a healthy perspective of your business. Invest in continuous training. This is how you develop superstars.

Finally, identify those who show the most promise and give them special opportunities to get to the next level – business management. Take them under your wing – not just as employees, but as future leaders in your business. Introduce them to the people that matter in your world – from parts suppliers to business coaches – so they understand the scope of your business.

And if you want to encourage them, consider nominating them as the Canadian Technician of the Year. Even if they don’t win the distinction, they’ll be buoyed by your vote of confidence. If they’re truly outstanding, they’ll inspire countless of others to learn from their dedication to excellence.

The Canadian Technician of the Year award is all about recognizing the superstars in our bays, and giving them all a well-deserved pat on the back. And it all starts with the nomination form you’ll find on our web site.

Take the time to nominate your top tech. The industry needs to hear about their successes.


I want to hear what you think. You can reach me at

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