RELEASE: 2021 Techs Rock Category Winners & Grand Prize Vote

TechForce Foundation® Announces Category Winners &
Opens Public Grand Prize Vote in its 3rd Annual Techs Rock AwardsTM

Five transportation technicians recognized for outstanding
contributions as role models in their shops and in their communities

November 29, 2021 – SCOTTSDALE, AZ — TechForce Foundation® announces the Category Winners for the 2021 Techs Rock Awards and opens 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 Voting is open through 2 PM 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, FL 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 Awardees include:

  • Outstanding Mentor – David May, Karl Tyler Chevrolet. Shop Foreman David 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. David says “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.”

  • Rookie of the Year – Drew Harless, Berglund Ford. Drew 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, Drew 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.”

  • Die Hard – Jess Anderson, Kolar Chevrolet. World Class certified tech and die-hard 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. Jess says, “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.”

  • Barrier Buster – Gabriel Gaumer, MHC Kenworth. Gabriel 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. He says, “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. Donald 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, Donald shows those new to the industry what can be achieved as a technician. He says, “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.

About TechForce Foundation
TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with the mission to champion all students to and through their technical education and into careers as professional transportation technicians. The Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants annually, thanks to its generous corporate sponsors and donors, and spearheads an industry-wide workforce development initiative to help encourage and support more young people to pursue the vehicle technician profession. For more information, visit Follow us on Facebook, InstagramTwitter and LinkedIn.


Under The Hood | November 2021


Technician Supply & Demand Report | Scholarship – Harbor Freight Tools for Schools | Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award | Driven to Care Legacy Fund | Women Techs Rock – Techs Rock Awards | TechForce Challenge Winner

Technician Supply & Demand Report: Updated for 2021

supply infographic landscape-2TechForce has released its 2021 Transportation Technician Supply & Demand Report, revealing the transportation technician shortage continues to worsen. Demand for technicians nearly doubled in the past year – from 136,503 in 2020 to 258,000 in 2021. Previously, demand outpaced supply by nearly three to one; now it is estimated to be five to one. Learn more. Download the 2021 Technician Supply & Demand Report>>

Auto & Diesel teacher wins big with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools and TechForce

2021-10_Harbor Freight Tools for Schools event-2Congratulations to Salem High School Auto & Diesel Teacher Derek Wray, $100,000 winner in the Automotive Category of the 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence!

TechForce added to Derek’s prize with a $2,500 Accelerate Tuition scholarship to be awarded to a high school senior of his choice. TechForce (center) was on-site with Harbor Freight Tools for Schools (right) at Salem High School to award Derek (left) his prize. Learn more on the 2021 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence>>

Fall 2021 Terry Emig Hero Spirit Awardee

2021-10_Emig Hero Spirit Award_Brian Tsavolakis-2-2

Congratulations to Brian Tsavolakis, recipient of the Fall 2021 Terry Emig Hero Spirit Award! The Award is granted each year to students who show the same grace and generosity that characterized our friend Terry Emig.

Brian will receive tuition and cash support to help with the cost of his motorcycle technician training. TechForce also congratulates runners-up Jack Boddie and Isaiah Andrews, who will receive cash support for their technical education. Apply for scholarships through TechForce’s social network>>


Students participate in Driven to Care VIP experience

IMG_8436 (1)-1John F. Weinberger Driven to Care Legacy Fund (part of the Footprints Foundation) and TechForce teamed up with the Sports Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) to host students for a day at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. Students had the opportunity to see race track operations first hand, learn from Tom Lehmukhl and James Lowe, talk with race control, and go on pace laps with Ron Rigdon! Special thanks to SVRA, Circuit of the Americas and Lisa Weinberger for making the event possible. Find upcoming events and apply for scholarships through

#WomenTechsRock – Techs Rock Grand Prize Winner Melina

2021-10_WTR Melina AlgierGM technician Melina Algier has “dedicated [her]self to proving that women can work in the automotive industry.”

When she received the Techs Rock Awards Grand Prize in 2020 Melina had less than two years of technician experience. Yet, in that short time, she completed over 70 GM-certified courses and even moved up to training her shop’s new students and interns! Be sure to vote for the 2021 Techs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner starting Monday 11/29>>


Meet the first-ever TechForce champion

2021-10_TechForce Champion Jinelee Gonzalez-1Congratulations to UTI Orlando student Jinelee Galindez! She held the highest score after advancing through four weeks of challenges, earning her spot as the first-ever champion of TechForce’s social network along with $150 to Harbor Freight Tools and $150 Visa gift card! A big thank you to Harbor Freight Tools for Schools and Steven DeMarzio for sponsoring the contest. Find more contests here>>

Thank you to all TechForce Foundation partners!

TFF-ALL-Partners-Logo-Lockup-211022Associations: Automotive Communications Council, Automotive Maintenance & Repair Association (AMRA), American Rental Association (ARA), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), Automotive Service Association (ASA), Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), ASE Education Foundation, ASE Training Managers Council (ATMC), Auto Care Association/Women in Auto Care, Center for Advanced Automotive Technology (CAAT), Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA), Collision Repair Education Foundation (CREF), Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair (CCAR), Fresh Start Women’s Foundation, Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), Minnesota State Transportation Center of Excellence, National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada (NAACC), National Automotive Service Task Force (NASTF), National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), National Center for Autonomous Technology (NCAT), SkillsUSA, STEAM Sports Foundation and American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC)

Celebrities: Charles Sanville (The Humble Mechanic), Lyn St. James (IndyCar), Bogi Lateiner (Girl Gang Garage), Steve Johnson (Steve Johnson Racing – NHRA) and Julia Landauer (Julia Landauer Racing – NASCAR)

For more news on TechForce Foundation, follow us on social media at the links below!


Facebook logoInstagram logoTwitter logoLinkedIn LogoYouTube Logo

Please share your contact details and a TechForce team member will contact you.

"By connecting students, instructors, industry pros and working techs, the TechForce Foundation provides unilateral support to the transportation industry’s technician recruiting needs… The administration of our Scholarships by the TechForce team has been instrumental in delivering us with a successful method to gain interest from qualified candidates as well as provide our students with additional assistance to complete their education."
Tony Farr
Ford Technical Programs Manager