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Service Technician Team LeaderPark Place Lexus of Plano
“I had been in manufacturing all of my life, from textiles to making wiring harnesses for tractor-trailer rigs. I was laid off of that job, and when I went down to the unemployment office, I talked to a counselor to see how I might re-train and learn a new vocation. They told me they had a program I could qualify for that was with Dallas Community Colleges.
“I had always liked working on cars and had always done work for friends and family, and I’d read recently that there was a shortage of trained technicians. When I found out that I qualified to enter the Automotive Tech program at Eastfield College — and that through the unemployment office program they’d pay for tuition, books and tools — that’s all it took for me to have a new career direction.
“My first day in class, I told [program director] Curt Jenkins that I’d never worked professionally on a car in my life — but he said I’d come to the right place, that that’s what they were there to teach me to do. After I’d been in the program for a couple of years, they even set up my interview with Park Place Lexus, and I was still in school the first year I worked for them. They brought me in as a loop technician and basic oil changer, and now 13 years later, I’m a team leader in mid-management.
“Everything I learned in the Auto Tech program I use on the job. Although they had a training program at work when I was first hired, I didn’t have to take all of their classes because I’d already had the training in school. I started working here with more training than most of the other guys, and that first year even got the Technician of the Year Award at work.
“Everything I learned in the program, from engine reps to air conditioning, has to do with what I do now. If I hadn’t taken the Auto Tech classes, there’s no way I’d know how to do what I do now. I supervise eight guys and don’t turn a wrench as much as I used to, because I’ve reached a level where I’m in mid-management. Thanks to Eastfield and the T-Ten program, I already had the background and knowledge to go right into a good job, and it’s turned into a great deal for me.”
Leo Carreon earned an associate degree in the Automotive Technology Toyota T-TEN program at Eastfield College in 1996. He has worked at Park Place Lexus since 1997.