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TechForce Foundation has announced the category qinners for the 2021 Techs Rock Awards and has opened the grand prize public vote.
TechForce created this prestigious award to honor professional technicians who mentor and inspire the next generation of techs, bring excellence to their workplaces and communities, and demonstrate passion and commitment to the profession.
Meet the finalists and vote for the grand prize winner at TechForce.org/Vote. Voting is open through 2 p.m. PST Dec. 3, 2021.
Category winners were selected from over 700 nominations by TechForce’s panel of industry judges, including Bogi Lateiner, Bogi’s Garage; Charles Sanville, The Humble Mechanic; Emily Reeves, Flying Sparks Garage; Steve Ford, The Car Guy; and Julia Landauer, NASCAR driver.
Each category winner will receive prizes valued at more than $1,800 from TechForce partners including Ford Motor Company, CRC Industries, Snap-on Tools, Advance Auto Parts, Cengage, WD-40 and AutoZone.
One grand prize winner, as selected by popular vote, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to STX 2022 in Orlando, Fla., courtesy of Advance Auto Parts, along with an additional prize package valued at over $5,000 from TechForce partners CRC Industries, Ford Motor Company, Snap-on Tools, Advance Auto Parts, Shell, WD-40 Company and AutoZone.
The 2021 Category Winners each represent a distinct category. The award winners include:
David May, Karl Tyler Chevrolet. Shop Foreman May mentors both professional technicians and students in his shop. He is credited with guiding many technicians into successful careers affording them a high quality of life. “One of the most satisfying rewards is to see trainees be successful in their work and know that I had a hand in their success,” says May.
Rookie of the Year
Drew Harless, Berglund Ford. Harless was hired as an apprentice tech while still in high school and has been working in the shop full time since graduation. An Eagle Scout and SkillsUSA state champion, Harless decided that college wasn’t for him once he discovered his love of cars in high school. “Every day I go to work with my mindset on learning something new…I want to show that you don’t need to go to college to be successful.”
Jess Anderson, Kolar Chevrolet. World-class certified tech and diehard Chevy fan Jess Anderson strives to be the best technician in the industry. She specializes in vehicle electrical systems and has a keen knack for explaining her work to fellow technicians and customers alike. “There is always something new to learn or a new way to perform a repair. With all the new electric vehicle platforms coming, I’m ready for that challenge.”
Gabriel Gaumer, MHC Kenworth. Gaumer’s colleagues describe him as a leader, one of the hardest working techs in his shop, and someone always willing to go the extra mile. “I went to tech school, but also have experience in the agricultural [and] construction industries. I am a left arm amputee and can usually perform any task given to me [but] prefer the weird electrical gremlin jobs.”
Pay It Forward
Donald Ranquist, Carmax. Ranquist makes it a priority to find ways he can positively impact those around him. From serving on the Carmax Cares committee to establishing his own non-profit to heal victims of bullying through Motorsports, Ranquist shows those new to the industry what can be achieved as a technician. “As an automotive technician, I’ve developed skills that can help many people. I try and offer assistance in any way I can.”
The Techs Rock Awards are part of TechForce Foundation’s workforce development initiative to help inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. TechForce has also created the first and only social network designed and gamified for professional technicians and tech students to connect with each other, employers and schools. The transportation community is supporting it with content and using it to learn, connect, find events and explore job opportunities while competing for prizes and leaderboard status.