Leo Carreon

Service Technician Team Leader
Park 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 College​.

“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 — 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 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 in 1996. He has worked at Park Place Lexus since 1997.