Mobile Service Engineer, ZF Friedrichshafen, Lima, OH
- Liberty High School, Fauquier High School, Fauquier County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Automotive Technology I and II
- Additional studies: Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Diesel and Alternative Fuels Technology, University
of Northwestern Ohio; Automotive Service Excellence certification, master status
by Veronica Garabelli
Douglas Dunn discovered he wanted to work with cars after taking Automotive Technology courses in high school.
“I enjoyed working on cars, and once I started taking that class and learned I was pretty good at it, I thought it would be a good career,” says Douglas, a mobile service engineer at ZF Friedrichshafen, a German car parts manufacturer.
As an engineer for ZF Friedrichshafen, Douglas is charged with diagnosing and repairing automobile transmissions for Honda, Acura, and Chrysler vehicles. Before that, he built, installed, and repaired transmissions for Honda at Honda Research and Development Americas Inc. For his current job, Douglas travels to Honda, Acura, and Chrysler factories and dealerships all over the U.S., which is his favorite aspect of his job but also the biggest challenge as it requires good time management skills.
“It gets pretty crazy sometimes, but it’s always enjoyable,” he says.
Douglas says he still uses the skills he learned in the automotive technology program at Fauquier High School for his job at ZF Friedrichshafen. During that time, he also earned an Automotive Service Excellence certification and, since then, has achieved “master” status.
In college he continued to build industry credentials by receiving an associate degree in automotive diesel and alternative fuels technology from the University of Northwestern Ohio. He also gained hands-on experience by working as an automotive technician at a Ford dealership and by performing inspections and quality control for Procter & Gamble.
Douglas is not done learning yet. He plans to return to school to earn his bachelor’s degree, although he hasn’t yet selected a major. He does know he wants to stay in the automobile field and continue working for ZF Friedrichshafen for the time being.
“Currently, I really enjoy working with ZF; it’s a good company,” he says. “I’d like to stick with them as long as possible..”
Humberto Otero II
Automotive Technician, First Team Auto Mall, Roanoke
- Hidden Valley High School and Arnold R. Burton Technology Center, Roanoke County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Automotive Technology I, II, III
- Additional studies: Volkswagen Master Technician; Virginia State Vehicle Inspector
Maintaining the family tradition
by Veronica Garabelli
Humberto Otero kicked his career into high gear before graduating from high school.
As part of his high school Auto Service Technology class, Humberto applied for a job at an automobile shop. He interviewed at First Team Auto Mall in Roanoke, the same place where his father worked, and landed a job as an automotive technician.
Humberto knew he wanted to work with cars by the time he was 12. He says he has been around cars “forever,” since he comes from a family of mechanics. His father still works at the same shop he does, and his grandfather used to own an automobile shop.
“My dad has been my mentor since day one,” he says. “He has taught me the skills needed to succeed in such an ever-changing career.”
Humberto’s favorite part about his career is also his biggest challenge: making sure vehicles are fixed properly.
At First Team Auto Mall, Humberto specializes in Volkswagens and is a V W Master Technician, a certification which took him about five years to complete. He also is a certified Virginia State Vehicle Inspector. Eventually, he would like to earn Master Technician status from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, a sought-after certification by employers in his field.
“I would like to move away from working on vehicles and move up to a manager role one day,” he says.
Humberto advises high school students who want to become automotive technicians to work hard and never stop learning. “That’s a big thing, because technology in automobiles is changing all the time,” he says.
Inventory Management Specialist, U.S. Department of Defense, Warren, Michigan
- Sussex Central High School, Sussex County Public Schools
- CTE studies: Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC)
- Additional studies: Bachelor’s in Political Science, Virginia State University, Petersburg; Pursuing Master of Science in Management, Walsh College, Troy, Michigan
Equipping U.S. troops
by Veronica Garabelli
Davida Stevenson is not in the U.S. Army, but she still plays an important role for U.S. troops. As an inventory management specialist for the U.S. Department of Defense, Davida makes sure the Army has the equipment it needs, from military tanks to the pieces that make up that tank. “I feel a connection to those men and women,” she says about people in the Armed Forces. “I know I have to do my job 100 percent of the time in order for them to have the things that they need … to fight and defend us or train in order for them to come back home to their families safely,” she says.
The job entails buying and repairing equipment for the Army and forecasting what gear it needs so an order can be processed quickly. To land the position, Davida went through the Department of the Army Intern Program which trains civilians for logistic management positions with the federal government. Davida likens the 18–24 month program as being in college again (participants, by the way, are required to have a college degree with a GPA of at least 2.95 or have graduated in the top 30 percent of their undergraduate class). “You have a curriculum that’s all about federal government service and supply or maintenance of the U.S. Army,” she says, noting that after training, participants are placed at a permanent duty station that could be anywhere around the world.
Davida started laying the foundation for her current career in high school, when she participated in the Army Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program. According to its official Web site, the program teaches students character education, student achievement, wellness, leadership, and diversity. “It was a good introduction. When you’re in middle school and high school, you know of the Army, but you don’t know what it entails,” says Davida about JROTC.
Davida’s ultimate dream is to be a project manager. In January, she expects to graduate from Walsh College in Troy, Michigan, with a Master of Science in Management, with a concentration on project management. “What I’m doing now is a great foundation, especially for individuals who are just coming into the federal workforce with the Army because it teaches you how to support the soldier, but now I feel as if I’m ready to lead my own project,” she says.
The Career Clusters logo and its extensions are the property of the National Career Technical Foundation, as managed by NASDCTEc. Some content on this page is from the publication, R U College & Career Ready? - 2017 Edition; and is used here with permission from the Virginia Business Publications LLC and Trailblazers in the Demographics and Workforce Section of the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia.