The Techs Rock Awards are made possible by our sponsors, the future & working technicians who keep America moving, and all who nominated and voted for this year's honorees.

Thank you for joining TechForce in showing the world that Techs Rock!


March 7th at Mecum Glendale & Partner Summit






The Techs Rock Awards are made possible by our sponsors, the future & working technicians who keep America moving, and all who nominated and voted for this year's honorees.

When Techs Rock America Rolls!


November 9th -January 14th


February 14-28th


March 7th at Mecum Glendale & Partner Summit

Congratulations to GRAND PRIZE WINNERS ANd all Finalists in the 6th Annual Techs Rock Awards

Follow TechForce now:
For the exciting Grand Prize Winner Announcement video from Mecum Glendale and more!



Misael Rodriguez

Indiana – Ben Davis High School & Andy Mohr Auto Service Area 31


Dustin Thomas

Texas- CarMax




Zoe Pernites

Virginia – Aviation Institute of Maintenance


Madysen Smith

Pennsylvania – Dauphin County Technical School


Alejandra Rivas

Texas – Western Technical College


Michael MeiER

Virginia – Centura College



Joshua Borel

Texas – Chennault Aviation Academy


Kevin Walker

Pennsylvania – Caliber Collision


Christopher Heil

Arizona – TA Truck Service


Paul Herold

Pennsylvania – Firestone Complete Auto Care




All-Inclusive trip to Mecum Glendale, AZ
Winners will be announced at the Mecum Glendale Event
Exclusive dinner with top industry leaders at TechForce’s National Partners Summit
Flights and (2) night stay at the Renaissance Resort
NAPA Carlyle toolbox stocked with Carlyle tools valued at $8K
Thanks to our partner Hertz, our Grand Prize winners will also win a week-long rental of a cutting-edge Electric Vehicle (EV) and experience the thrill of eco-friendly, high-performance driving in style!




$500 AutoZone gift card
GEARWRENCH Modular Tool Set
valued up to $1,000.




John Gardner

TV Host

Micki Woods


Emily Reeves


Brandon Steckler

Technical Editor

JP Emerson


CHarles Sanville


Sabré COOK


Frank Leutz

Radio Host

Six, MBP, & Shoreline



Recognizing excellence in the automotive sector and motorsports sector. It’s an acknowledgment of expertise behind the reliable functionality of daily vehicles and the advanced adjustments essential for motorsports success.

This category acknowledges the proficiency behind the robust engines that drive both our on-road giants and off-road workhorses. It’s a nod to the specialized expertise required to maximize torque and durability, ensuring relentless performance, whether on paved highways or rugged terrains.

The art and science of bringing vehicles back to life. Whether it’s the meticulous revival of an old classic, the precision repair of a recent collision, or the expertise of welding techniques, this catagoy stands for dedication, attention to detail, and passion for aesthetics and functionality.

Across air, land, and sea, precision engineering is paramount. This category highlights the mechanics behind reliable aircraft, efficient motorcycles, and durable marine vessels. A testament to the diverse expertise that shapes our journey, no matter the medium.

The future is now. This category is our salute to those at the frontier of transportation technologies, breaking barriers and envisioning tomorrow. From electric advancements to ground-breaking automation, this category is for the visionaries defining our transport’s next chapter.

Recognizing excellence in the automotive sector and motorsports sector. It’s an acknowledgment of expertise behind the reliable functionality of daily vehicles and the advanced adjustments essential for motorsports success.

This category acknowledges the proficiency behind the robust engines that drive both our on-road giants and off-road workhorses. It’s a nod to the specialized expertise required to maximize torque and durability, ensuring relentless performance, whether on paved highways or rugged terrains.

The art and science of bringing vehicles back to life. Whether it’s the meticulous revival of an old classic, the precision repair of a recent collision, or the expertise of welding techniques, this catagoy stands for dedication, attention to detail, and passion for aesthetics and functionality.

Across air, land, and sea, precision engineering is paramount. This category highlights the mechanics behind reliable aircraft, efficient motorcycles, and durable marine vessels. A testament to the diverse expertise that shapes our journey, no matter the medium.

The future is now. This category is our salute to those at the frontier of transportation technologies, breaking barriers and envisioning tomorrow. From electric advancements to ground-breaking automation, this category is for the visionaries defining our transport’s next chapter.


Nomination Eligibility & Requirements


Nominees must be 1) a professional technician employed full-time in, OR 2) a current student studying a technical education curriculum in at least one of the Techs Rock Awards recognized categories:

  • Automotive & Motorsports
  • Diesel
  • Collision, Restoration & Welding
  • Aviation, Motorcycle & Marine’
  • Emerging Technologies

 1.) General Eligibility and Requirements for all Nominees:

All nominees shall exhibit exemplary character and be making a positive impact in their school, workplace, and/or community.

To nominate a technical student or professional technician, please offer details on your candidate in the nomination form. Nominations open Thursday, November 9, 2023 at 11:30 AM ET/ 8:30 AM PT and close Sunday, January 14, 2024 at 11:59 PM PT.


1.) Nominees must be 18 years or older to enter or 16 years or older with their parent/guardian’s permission.


2.) Nominees must be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident, or have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status with proof of current Employment Authorization Document.


3.) A nominee may only be nominated in one category.


4.) An individual may nominate any student or technician only once. An individual may submit multiple nominations for multiple individuals.


5.) Nominations may be submitted by anyone. Self-nominations are accepted.


6.) Only one student or technician may be nominated per each form submission. Individuals are permitted to submit multiple nomination form submissions.


7.) Nomination questions should be answered in complete sentences.


8.) Nominations must be submitted through the Techs Rock Awards online nomination form. Nominations submitted via any other means, after the nomination deadline, or for a nominee who otherwise does not meet nomination criteria will not be considered.


9.) Once nominated, each nominee will receive a Nomination Acceptance email. Nominees MUST accept the nomination via the short survey linked in the email before the acceptance deadline of Sunday, January 21, 2024, at 11:59 PM PT. Failure to submit this information by the deadline will result in the nominee’s disqualification.


10) Upon Nomination Acceptance, if a nominee is under the age of 18, the nominee’s parent or guardian will receive an email to confirm their Consent for the nominee’s participation in the Techs Rock Awards. The Acceptance, and Parental Consent where necessary, must be provided by the acceptance deadline of Sunday, January 21, 2024, at 11:59 PM PT. Failure to submit this information by the deadline will result in the nominee’s disqualification.


11) Chosen honorees must agree to the following to be considered:


a) Have their name and photo published in digital and print media announcing the winners.


b) Be willing to participate in a Q&A-style interview with our editorial team.


c) Agree to provide their contact and shipping information to TechForce partners for prize delivery.


d) Be willing to participate in a video interview, to be used to encourage nominations and other engagements in future Techs Rock Awards.


e) Be willing to travel to Glendale, AZ the week of March 4, 2024 for recognition at TechForce’s National Partner Summit and on-stage at Mecum Glendale 2024 if selected as the one student or one professional technician Grand Prize Winner.


2.) Student-specific Eligibility and Requirements:


1.) Student nominees shall display passion and hard work toward becoming a future professional technician. Student nominees shall also have concrete examples of how they exceed expectations in their technical education program.


2.) Student nominees must be at least a current, active student, enrolled in a transportation technology curriculum, who:


a.) has completed, at a minimum their sophomore year of high school, and


b.) is currently enrolled as at least a Junior or Senior in high school, or actively enrolled in a post-secondary technical education program.


3.) Nominees MUST be a student at the time of nomination and must continue to meet all nomination criteria through March 31, 2024.


a.) Students who graduate on or before March 31, 2024 are not eligible for nomination.


b.) Students on a leave of absence or waiting to start/in between school enrollment are not eligible for nomination.


c.) Any student, nominee, or honoree who misrepresents any portion of their nomination acceptance, including Parental Consent and nominee’s ability to meet nomination criteria, or any nominee for which a parent, guardian, nominator, or instructor knowingly misrepresents the nominee’s ability to meet nomination criteria shall be immediately disqualified, and/or have all awarded titles and prizes revoked.


3.) Professional Technician-specific Eligibility and Requirements:


1.) Professional technician nominees shall be respected for their technical skills and reputation as a qualified tech, and have concrete examples of how they exceed expectations in the category being nominated for.


2.) Professional technician nominees must be employed full-time as a technician in the automotive, aviation, collision, diesel, emerging technologies, marine, motorcycle, motorsports, restoration, or welding industries.


3.) It is highly encouraged to nominate technicians who have achieved workplace accomplishments and milestones in the past 18 months.

NOTE ON PRIZE INCOME: The Internal Revenue Code states that under certain circumstances the value of prizes and awards/gifts to individuals is considered taxable income. Merchandise or products won as a prize or award will be considered at the fair market value and could also be considered taxable income. Nonresident aliens may be subject to additional tax rules regardless of amount, depending on circumstances and treaty status. The prize and award/gift amount will be treated as 1099 income. The recipient will receive a Form 1099-MISC from TechForce Foundation on any winnings totaling $600.00 or more in a calendar year. The recipient will also be required to provide TechForce Foundation with a completed W-9 form, which includes social security number, to be used for issuing a 1099 for tax purposes, as well as signing a prize/award acceptance form. Additionally, should a scholarship be awarded, the recipient is required to complete the scholarship application and acceptance process online at


Techforce Foundation

TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with the mission to champion all students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians. 

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Misael Rodriguez

Aspiring Technician
Automotive & Motorsports Category
Ben Davis High School, Area 31 Career Center, Andy Mohr Automotive Service
Indianapolis, IN

Misael Rodriguez is a student at Ben Davis High School. He is studying Automotive Technology at Area 31 Career Center and is an ambassador for Andy Mohr Automotive Service in Indianapolis.

Misael is a first-generation Mexican-American student with a 4.0 GPA and plans to run for SkillsUSA State Officer in Indiana in 2024. He was featured on Snap-on’s Makers and Fixers.

In his words, “I’m a dedicated, respectful and responsible person who seeks excellent success in my academics and career. I want to make my parents proud and I also want to give back to my community and get more involved.”

Misael nominated himself for the Techs Rock Awards a few weeks after being introduced to TechForce Foundation. 

He said, “…around December, I learned about TechForce and their opportunities for young techs. I wanted to be nominated to open new doors [and] share my story with you guys.”

A milestone I want to accomplish this year is winning state for SkillsUSA Indiana for community service. For our project, my team will perform oil changes. Our labor will be free, and the oil will be free thanks to the sponsor of my automotive class at Ben Davis (High School). The only thing our client will have to purchase will be an oil filter. We will also inspect lugnuts, air pressure, and tire wear to inform them of the life of their tires. 

I’ll also compete for SkillsUSA Auto Maintenance Light and Repair (this year) with my group of 4 to hopefully win Regionals. I’m the only first-year student in my group and my knowledge will be enhanced thanks to my team because this will be their second year competing. I’ll also give back the favor for next year’s first years who want to compete for MLR with me for SkillsUSA 2025. 

I’ve applied to run for State Officer for SkillsUSA Indiana. I want to encourage more young technicians to seek opportunities to help their community and be leaders in their category.

[I had] my first ever interview at Chrysler Dodge Jeep and Ram Andy Mohr. It went excellent… and I want to attend their CAP program to achieve a degree.

My (first) accomplishment/ award this year was being selected to be an ambassador for Andy Mohr Automotive Service for Area 31 Career Center. I helped talk to young students in 7th through 10th grade to inform them of the opportunities this program offers and the high demand for technicians with strong work ethics.

My academic awards I’ve received [include] a Presidential Academic Award, Academic Honors, NJHS [National Junior Honor Society] and also NSLS [The National Society of Leadership and Success]. I’m on track to receive my Core 40, Academic Honor Diploma and Technical Honors Diploma. I have a weighted GPA of 4.0, and also am a member of Ivy Tech Upward Bound.

A passion for me is to be a leader in my class to help one another and influence my peers to become successful.

[I was] elected to be an ambassador for my automotive class to help future students who want to become a technician in the automotive field or who have questions. Having the title ambassador for my auto class comes with big responsibilities.

I’ve helped my peers from day one. Helping the ones who were confused and also lost when lessons were taught; distributing hands-on work so everyone had an opportunity to use a tool or remove a piece; helping my class with repair orders, teaching the ones who needed help.

A positive activity I do for my Church is being part of their choir for Sundays and Thursdays. I’ve helped around my community, simple as a free oil change and helping my elderly neighbor jack his car to remove a wheel off his truck.

[I also make a] positive impact by sharing my story. I want to be an example for future male and female technicians that anything is possible with hard work, dedication and leadership.

Be leaders in your passion and look for opportunities and help your community.

Some outside interests are mountain biking with my family. I love recording my trails on my Instagram, and I record my service on my parents’ vehicle, such as replacing their brake pads and teaching some of my viewers [things] such as oil changes and maintaining your car. 

[In] 2023, I repaired my parents’ car’s front bumper and fender because of a car crash. I took pictures of every progress and I hope to soon have a channel like ChrisFix teaching people about cars.

I’ve also been involved in ACE mentorship to learn a little of everything. ACE mentorship helps future students who are interested in Architecture, Construction and Engineering.

Dustin Thomas

Working Technician
Automotive & Motorsports Category
San Antonio, TX

Dustin Thomas is a professional automotive technician and has been with CarMax for more than six years.

As he describes it, Dustin got his start “shortly after graduating high school. Friends of mine had gotten into tuner cars, and after seeing how unique and cool the automotive world could be I was hooked. I moved to San Antonio when I was 19 and made the decision to try and turn this new hobby into a career. I started attending St. Philip’s College to pursue my Associate’s Degree in Automotive Technology, which I completed in 2015.”

Dustin’s journey continued, eventually landing him at CarMax. “After obtaining my degree, I was offered a job at a small mom-and-pop repair shop where I had interned. I worked there for around two years, growing my knowledge and beginning my ASE journey. I received two ASEs during my time there, at which point I decided to continue my growth and moved over to working for CarMax. I have since been with my company for 6.5 years, pushing myself to obtain all A1-A8 ASE certifications, as well as recently acquiring my ASE L1 advanced certification, allowing me to be promoted to our highest level of technician positions.”

Dustin’s supervisor nominated him for the Techs Rock Awards. He describes Dustin as “an all-around great technician.”

“Dustin is a go-getter that is always willing to help his peers anyway he can. Dustin continues to grow his automotive knowledge and within one year has gotten three different ASEs including his L1. He is a motivated leader within his work group and goes above and beyond to ensure the daily goals are met.”

Dustin has earned all 8 ASE certifications, including his L1. He earned three of these certifications in 2023 alone.

While in school, Dustin received a scholarship from Matco Tools. During his time with CarMax, he has consistently been a top tech, achieving the company’s highest tiers of President’s Club rankings.

Dustin strives to be an example to his peers of possible career achievements within the automotive industry.

Outside of work, Dustin has volunteered on numerous occasions to help with various non-tech-related volunteer opportunities. His volunteerism includes traveling 2+ hours from home through CarMax’s partnership with KABOOM! to help build a new playground set for children impacted by a recent school shooting.

While in school, Dustin was involved in a performance tuning program and volunteered as a representative of the Auto Tech department for high school auto tech students who were interested in the program.

In his supervisor’s words, “Dustin helps plan and organize the ongoing training provided by CarMax in relation to electric cars. He continues to grow his knowledge in this area, as he sees this is the future. Overall, Dustin is a Rockstar and deserves this award for all of the hard work he has put in over the last year to meet all of his goals!”

Zoe Pernites

Aspiring Technician
Aviation, Motorcycle & Marine Category
Aviation Institute of Maintenance
Norfolk, VA

Zoe Pernites is an aviation student at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Norfolk, Virginia. Zoe’s instructor nominated her for the Techs Rock Awards.

Before enrolling at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Zoe studied Mechanical Engineering at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). This additional experience has empowered Zoe to excel as a leader and positively influence the classroom, inspiring her classmates to achieve higher levels of understanding.

In Zoe’s own words, she wants to continue inspiring her peers beyond graduation, “I want to [continue] this welcoming and leadership presence in the workplace, to compliment my goal for cultivating safe space. Studying at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance has allowed me to meet fantastic mentors and life-long friends who further developed my sense of belonging in this field.

My time with these role models has made me realize that one of my goals is to become someone just like them, for someone like me. I was admittedly nervous to enter the field as a woman; my peers and instructors showed me that there is enough space for everyone in this field. 

I hope to further cultivate this space for my fellow women, because I believe it now to be vital for women to feel welcome in this field.”

Zoe’s nominator says, “Zoe should be recognized as the Techs Rock Award winner for aviation. She is involved in all aspects of the school and is looked on by students and faculty in each class as an ‘Assistant Instructor.’ 

She has an innate ability to quickly grasp new concepts presented by each instructor, including project safety. These skills have resulted in instructors assigning her as crew lead in shop projects.

Zoe is the epitome of the term ‘Gearhead;’ in her free time she performs maintenance repairs on vehicles and motorcycles.”

Zoe completed her General Examination in record time for her FAA Mechanic Certification. She is a recipient of the American Airlines Student Scholarship from Women in Aviation International and the Aviation Ambassador Scholarship from the Trades Workforce Foundation. 

In recognition of her leadership skills in the classroom, Zoe also received the Aviation Institute of Maintenance’s Student Leadership Award.

Zoe describes her work to support her classmates, “I push others in my school towards completing early examinations for their Airframe and Powerplant\r\ncertifications, lead multiple teams in the workshop environment, and continue to try to be a presence in the classroom that is open and willing to assist others in their learning.”

In addition to inspiring and tutoring her peers, Zoe is actively involved in her community.

Zoe participated in the National 9th Annual Girls in Aviation event in September 2023, using her knowledge of aviation to help spread awareness of the opportunities that are available for women in the field. She provided participants with literature and contact information on post-secondary education. 

She also participates in Women in Aviation International Chapter Admission Drives on campus and plans to attend the annual conference on behalf of the school in 2024.

Additionally, Zoe provided assistance through Community Outreach with the Mutual Aid Foundation in her city.

Madysen Smith

Aspiring Technician
Collision, Restoration & Welding Category
Dauphin County Technical School
Harrisburg, PA

Madysen is a high school senior studying collision repair at Dauphin County Technical School. She is in her second year of a work-based learning program and is employed part-time at a local autobody shop.

Madysen says, “I take pride in my work in the collision industry and strive to continue improving my work. After graduation, I plan to become a full-time paint technician and further my education as I am constantly looking to improve my skills.”

Her collision repair instructor nominated Madysen for the Techs Rock Awards.

Her instructor writes, “Madysen works tirelessly to be the best. Her goal is to be a refinish technician (painter) one day. She trains very hard and works harder. Her accomplishments through SkillsUSA are an example of that. 

Madysen has always been a hard worker from the time she started in the collision repair program. Mady even came into school on days she did not have to. This shows me her dedication to the work, training, and automotive industry.”

Madysen has earned straight A’s in her shop class for the past four years. During her junior year, she made it to the SkillsUSA Championships for Automotive Refinishing. She was a member of the first all-female finalists slate in competition history, and ultimately placed third in the nation. She was only 12 points away from first.

Madysen was selected to interview for WorldSkills to represent the United States in France. While she was not selected for Lyon 2024, Madysen continues to work hard to place first at SkillsUSA Nationals this year. It is her goals to compete at the next WorldSkills event.

Her instructor notes, “[Madysen] has made great improvements since starting her journey. Recently, she worked on a customer vehicle where she replaced the entire trunk floor, rear body panel, and lower rails. As this does not seem like a lot, she did do the job on her own, and the combined estimated time for the repairs was over 30 hours.”

Madysen’s first year of her collision repair program was hybrid due to Covid. During that year, the collision program participated in a partnership where students helped out our local auto museum. Madysen was the only 9th grader that year to participate.

She advocates for nontraditional students to pursue career and technical education. Madysen also supports her school’s collision repair program by volunteering with the local Advisory Committee and on program Expo days.


Aspiring Technician
Diesel Category
Western Technical College
El Paso, TX

Alejandra Rivas is a student at Western Technical College and a technician at Love’s Travel Stops in El Paso, Texas.

Alejandra nominated herself for the Techs Rock Awards. She writes, “Thank you for… the opportunity to represent the true spirit of a tech that rocks!”

Alejandra says, “In early 2022, I made the decision to pursue my passion for Diesel Technology by working at my father’s company, Jo-Par. Despite the job’s long hours and demanding nature, I established a reputation within the transportation industry for my dedication and expertise. 

The community recognized me as the little girl who used to accompany her father many years ago, and they witnessed my growth as I enrolled in school to pursue an AOS in Diesel Technology. Being a woman in a male-dominated industry has presented its challenges, but my determination and commitment allowed me to excel.”

My passion and determination to grow and learn in the industry have allowed me to advance and be promoted through 5 level positions to become a certified mechanic in my company in under 11 months. 

I am proud to have earned a place on the Dean’s List and achieved the highest rank among my peers through my exceptional 4.0 GPA and impeccable attendance.

[My employer] awarded me the 2023 Learning with Loves Scholarship, [and I received] the 2022 and 2023 Business and Professional Women Scholarships and the 2023 Women Tech’s Rock Scholarship from the TechForce Foundation.

Being the only female in my class, my academic achievements and willingness to mentor others earned me the respect and acceptance of my classmates and made me the student others seek when needing help with their studies.

Having earned the trust of my peers, I organized and initiated a tutoring program with the goal of preparing for the ASE tests – a nationally recognized certification for automotive technicians. Through this program, which lasted one month and a half, my peers and I met three times per week for one-hour sessions before class. By creating an inclusive and supportive environment that considered the language barriers that my peers and I faced, we were able to learn new educational strategies and material, resulting in all involved passing the five entry-level ASE tests.

My manager and colleagues often use me as an example and motivation for new employees and entrusted me with training responsibilities. 

I had the privilege to participate in the Career Day event at Horizon Heights Elementary School, where I showcased my industry and job to more than 40 classes of students, inspiring both young girls and boys to dream big and consider pursuing careers in the STEM fields. Motivated by the support from organizations such as Business and Professional Women (BPW), I am committed to giving back to the community.

I have actively collaborated with BPW to raise funds for young women aspiring to pursue higher education. With their trust, I will initiate a young BPW organization with a new generation of professional women to further provide financial assistance to college and university women in our community. I fervently believe that by empowering these individuals, we can bridge the gender gap in every industry, fostering a diverse and inclusive workforce for the future.

Michael Meier

Aspiring Technician
Emerging Technologies Category
Centura College
Norfolk, VA

Michael is a Master Electrician training for his next career as a Wind Turbine Technician at Centura College. He served as an Aviation Electronics Technician in the Navy before starting a 20+ year electrician career.

Michael’s instructor at Centura College nominated him for the Techs Rock Awards.

After a 20+ year career as an electrician, Michael was furloughed in 2023. With encouragement from his sister-in-law, Michael saw this as an opportunity to begin a new career in renewable energy.

In his words, “At the age of 51 [I am] back in an educational institution to learn… Wind Turbines [and] renewable electrical generation. Because of being furloughed by a company that had lost sight of my professional knowledge, I felt I was just a number and not a person of great knowledge and professionalism. So, I turned to seek knowledge and training in a new career. Renewable Energy and wind turbines have captured my passion, [and my skills] as a professional technician will be needed across the world. This is why I am where I am today.”

Michael had a 20+ year career as an electrician, where he established himself as an electrical machinery expert. Michael achieved Master Electrician status and established a reputation as a go-to reliable problem solver.

As his nominator writes, “[Michael] would give his all to ensure he did the job safely, train recruits properly, and ensure a high quality of work. Even after being furloughed, his former colleagues would still reach out for help with Machines that were down. Even during class, he will randomly get calls asking to share some of the information he has learned [in his career.]”

In the face of being furloughed, Michael showed grit and perseverance in pursuing a new career as a Wind Turbine Technician.

Michael is committed to helping and encouraging all those around him. He credits this to “[volunteering with] Camp Good Days and Special Times, [a camp that strives to improve the quality of life for families affected by cancer or sickle cell anemia]. It is here that I would become a man of paying it forward in all I do.”

In his nomination, Michael’s instructor writes, “Michael is an exceptionally admirable person; he leaves a lasting impression on everyone he meets. His passion and excitement for the field have bled onto me as his instructor. He often will say that he feels like a young man again, just with how excited he is to get his certifications and learn about the Wind Industry. 

Michael is very giving, whether it be time that he gives to a Leukemia Summer camp or staying late to help an instructor finish a personal project. In any way he can help, he happily will give up his time and even financial support. Through his passion for football, [Michael] decided to give back to the game and was an umpire for the VHSL [Virginia High School League] for about 20 years.

Thanks to Michael being a master electrician, he has started to offer help/study sessions to his classmates. Whenever you are around Mr. Meiers you will only hear him speak positively. He can change the mood of a room just with his presence.”


Working Technician
Aviation, Motorcycle & Marine Category
Chennault Aviation Academy
Conroe, TX

Joshua Borel is the Director Of Maintenance for Chennault Aviation Group. He has a lifelong passion for aviation and joined the Air Force in 2011 to turn that passion into a career. He served as a C-5 Isochronal Inspection Crew Chief before separating from the military in 2014 and enrolling at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in 2016.

In Joshua’s words, “I can honestly say that aviation is where I belong and that anyone willing to become a technician that has the passion love and focus to become certified should.”

He explained an initiative he is particularly excited to participate in: “In April of 2023, we broke ground on a new airport- Chennault Field (25TX) located just outside of Cut and Shoot Texas. Phase I was completed in November 2023, and Phase II is planned to begin soon. Our main goals for this airport are to become a General Aviation Community center and to uphold the legacy Gen. Chennault and the Chennault Foundation left to us. I am extremely proud to be not only an A&P I.A. Technician but also part of a fast-growing company like Chennault Aviation Group. 

I look forward to starting our own Part 147 school (Chennault Aviation Maintenance Academy) and passing on my love for aviation to future generations alongside my former instructor and very dear friend.”

An instructor turned colleague nominated Joshua, who first met him when he enrolled at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Houston, Texas, in 2016.

Joshua’s nominator summarizes, “I can confidently recommend & nominate Joshua as he is the example of a modern, safety conscious, aircraft technician.”

While in the Air Force, Joshua served as a C-5 Isochronal Inspection Crew Chief, earning several accommodations and awards, including two 436 MXS Knuckle Buster Awards.

Later, while a student at the Aviation Institute of Maintenance, Joshua led a team that won 1st place at national competitions, including the PAMA Olympics, the Metal Bashers Tournament, and the “big show” Aerospace Maintenance Competition. Joshua was also a National Technical Honor Society member before graduating Valedictorian in 2018.

Shortly after graduation, Joshua began working for Chennault Aviation Academy, a Part 61 flight school, where he was able to accomplish his dream and earn a Private Pilots Certificate.

In March 2022, Joshua was promoted to his current position as Director of Maintenance, and very soon after that, he was named Director of Maintenance for Kachina Air, a Part 135 Charter Service as well.

Outside of work, Joshua is also involved in Texas Warbird Thunder remote-controlled airplanes and is the president of Space City RC Club. He is also a member of the Lone Star Flight Museum, Conroe EAA VMC/IMC club, and the Altar guild at St. Andrews Episcopal Church.

In the words of Joshua’s nominator, “I now work with Joshua at our school where he is the Director of Maintenance. He is the first to volunteer to help the student pilots and the technicians become better aviators. He is always hosting cookouts for the students and technicians, constantly going above and beyond for his field of Aviation. He puts in crazy hours to ensure the academy operates smoothly without any safety issues.”


Working Technician
Collision, Restoration & Welding Category
Caliber Collision
Philadelphia, PA

Kevin is a 20+ year industry veteran and TAP (Technician Apprentice Program) HUB training manager with Caliber Collision in Philadephia, PA.

A longtime colleague at Caliber Collision nominated Kevin for the Techs Rock Awards. 

The nominator writes, “I have worked with Kevin for 20 years. First at an Auto Body Company (an 11-shop MSO in the Philadelphia region), then another company after our first auto body company was acquired, and finally, at our current company after another merger.”

Before being in this role, Kevin was always passionate about giving back to the industry by transferring his knowledge to future technicians.

In Kevin’s words, “What might set me apart from the group and make me worthy of this award is my level of dedication to my shop, my company, and my students. As an apprentice trainer, it is my mission to prepare each student for the challenges they will encounter as they enter this industry and provide them with an additional avenue of support throughout their career. I initially did so as a solo flat-rate technician and later as an apprentice team lead.

During my time with Caliber Collision, I achieved a ‘Best in Tech’ award five times consecutively before being offered a chance to have an official position as a Technician Apprentice Program hub manager\/trainer. Each technician who has graduated from Caliber’s TAP program can still reach out to me, regardless of where I am or what I’m doing, if they need advice.”

Kevin currently trains 4-5 apprentices at a time and has graduated 8+ apprentices since entering the role three years ago.

Kevin was one of the three original technicians who assisted in creating Caliber Collision’s TAP program as one of the TAP pilots.

Kevin said, “I am entering my 21st year in the industry, during which I’ve been a platinum-certified individual for nearly the entire journey and mentored nearly two dozen [professionals] who have gone on to have outstanding careers as body and frame techs. Whether it be late-night welding classes or weekend technical support, my passion and my life have been this industry and the community to which we provide our service.”

Kevin is also an I-CAR instructor. He not only trains and certifies Caliber Collision Teammates but also trains technicians from other collision repair companies. In his nominator’s words, Kevin “is constantly giving back to the industry.”


He not only trains and graduates apprentices; Kevin maintains a relationship with these Teammates after they are deployed into the centers surrounding the TAP Hub, where Kevin conducts their training. This ensures these new teammates are comfortable in their new center and remain productive members of the collision repair industry.

Kevin’s nominator writes, “Kevin has always worked with a ‘helper,’ and many have become productive standalone technicians in the industry. Kevin’s attitude and energy embody everything the industry needs to keep this lucrative career choice in front of future collision repair candidates.”

Kevin also says, “Whether industry-related or not. I continue to increase my efforts of giving back to the industry by becoming an I-car instructor, joining the advisory board of the technical school from which I graduated, and speaking at the nearby technical schools to aid and inform the next generation of technicians.”

Christopher Heil

Working Technician
Diesel Category
TA Truck Service
Tonopah, AZ

Christopher Heil is an ASE-certified medium heavy-duty truck technician who services trucks with TA Truck Service both in the bay and on the side of the road. Christopher is a US Army veteran working towards achieving ASE Master Technician status.

Christopher says, “I work on the big trucks, the 18-wheelers, to keep America moving. I work both in the bay and on the side of the road. We keep America rolling by repairing heavy-duty trucks so they can deliver their loads on time. [Trucks deliver] most everything consumers use, even the parts we use to repair these trucks. Food, furniture, medical supplies–you name it. It most likely arrived or was transported by truck at one point.

Being a professional technician and repairing and properly maintaining these units benefits everyone by delivering goods on time and protecting the environment, especially with the ever-advancing after-treatment systems on these trucks. With all the electronics, in addition to the mechanical aspect and the air delivery systems, technicians must stay up to date to meet the needs of the drivers of these units. Big rigs run 24V7V365, and so do technicians. Whether it is in the bay or on the side of the road, we work together with the drivers to keep America rolling.”

Christopher was nominated by a colleague at TA Truck Center. The nominator writes, “His drive and passion for what he does is contagious when taking care of these big rigs, making the customers happy, and keeping our roads safer one semi-truck at a time. He is personable with his coworkers, extremely generous with his time, and always willing to lend a helping hand to any guest or coworker. Honestly, I can’t say enough about him or his character. It truly is second to none, and I have the pleasure of working with and learning from him every shift, and I am very grateful.

Chris is always willing to stay late or come in early, take care of our customers, and support the management team at a moment’s notice. In 2023, Chris didn’t take a vacation or use PTO; the man never missed a shift or was late. In this day and age, that is so rare to find!”

Christopher is ASE-certified and working towards Master Technician status.

His nominator praised Christopher’s skill as a technician, “Chris has seen things on DOT inspections that other techs have looked at and just passed. I heard directly from a driver last night that drivers appreciate his candor and ability to relay information to them even when the bill increases for repairs. He is meticulous. His attention to detail is nothing I’ve seen before. He takes the time and care to do the job right the first time to company and federal standards.”

Christopher’s nominator explained his positive impact in the shop, “Chris isn’t afraid to stop what he’s doing and lend a hand to anyone or brainstorm when it comes to solving problems in any situation. That is just the way he’s wired. Not only does he want to do better, he wants the people around him to succeed. I’ve seen him help many guests at the drop of a hat when they pull up to the bays with questions, and it’s the same with me. I’m new to this side of the business. I know I’ve asked him hundreds of questions, and not once has he made me feel like a bother or less than.”

Christopher reflected on the importance of his work to everyone, from drivers to the American public. “Not only do we help keep the trucks rolling, but we also help the drivers. The modern sleeper cab is the driver’s home away from home, and they live there for the majority of their time. If the truck breaks down and the engine won’t run, then the air conditioning won’t work, and that’s not good on a hot day, and if it’s cold outside, the heater won’t work. Also, trucks often break down in unfavorable locations, such as the middle of the highway or in city traffic. A steer tire blowout during rush hour or a brake lock up in the entrance to a distribution center… These are the kinds of things a road call technician helps with. 

We also provide DOT inspections to ensure the tractor-trailers on the road are FMCSA compliant and, more importantly, safe for the operator and everyone on the road. 

Another challenging aspect of this profession is most big trucks employ air brakes and air systems. Keeping these trucks safe and in operating condition is a daunting task. Drivers often speak of driving 500 miles or more a day, so fixing the truck right the first time is important because these trucks go coast to coast, and some even leave the country. Drivers count on us to fix their trucks right, and to value their time.


Paul Herold

Working Technician
Emerging Technologies Category
Firestone Complete Auto Care
Monroeville, PA

Paul Herold is an ASE Master Technician with Firestone Complete Auto Care.

Paul’s colleague nominated him for the Techs Rock Awards, writing, “I have known Paul for several years, and he has always impressed me as a knowledgeable, professional technician who defines his role as ‘Lead Technician’ beyond the literal industry definition as one of the most highly skilled technician roles. (Paul is ASE Master L1 and L3.)

Paul also considers ‘Lead Technician’ to have a leadership component to be a role model and to help make the people, the shop, and the business more successful.”

Paul shared his excitement for electric vehicles and hybrids, “Lately, I have been learning about and working on hybrids and high voltage systems. The business is changing rapidly, and I am very excited to step up to the plate with this new technology. My future goal is to be able to teach this technology to my fellow Firestone technicians.”

Paul’s area manager writes, “This is AMAZING to hear as Paul embodies what [TechForce is] looking to honor with this award. As Paul’s Area Manager, I can personally say Paul exemplifies the characteristics of genuine caring, entrepreneurial, and digital. Paul has been a resource for me since I joined a little over a year ago. Paul has incredible business acumen; his passion for internal talent development is second to none. Paul has the heart of a teacher taking every opportunity to teach and train our budding technicians and further my mechanical understanding as I entered the Automotive Service industry. Paul is a leader amongst peers who takes an interest in other stores’ successes and helps facilitate a culture of training by outlining career paths for technicians throughout the Area. Paul is truly a gem in the industry, and I hope he gets the consideration he deserves.”

Paul’s Store Manager writes, “He has done so much for our company. I am incredibly grateful to have him as part of my team. One of the things he does daily is being a true leader for us. Every technician I have started as a maintenance technician, and with [Paul’s] guidance, they have become highly productive technicians (AB and C Techs) with goals that he has set for them. He helps them transfer successfully from hourly to flat-rate technicians. They completely understand what it means to be a productive technician.

On multiple occasions, I have seen him help coworkers figure out how many hours they have to flag per week to pay their bills and live a sustainable life. Only true mentors do this. He is never too busy to help anyone, no matter the task. His problem-solving mindset is the best I have ever worked with.

Not only does he always have employees’ best interests in mind, but what he does for our customers sets him apart. The service he provides to the customer is outstanding, from the initial diagnostic, explaining the failure repair, and then handing the keys back to the customer. He is involved in every step. He has developed a long tenure of customers trusting him with his knowledge and expertise of their vehicle.”

Paul’s nominator writes about his leadership with Automotive Emerging Technology: “Paul has prepared himself to set the pace for our entire organization! Paul started by proactively getting his ASE L3 certification, which is still quite rare in the industry. Paul then invested time on his own researching electric and hybrid vehicles to understand the subtle differences in everyday scheduled maintenance, and he also learned how to service and diagnose high-voltage systems. A local fleet approached Paul and his store manager to service their EV fleet. As Paul learned more about high-voltage systems, he proactively asked local managers and the corporate office for additional testing equipment. Even further, Paul requested and volunteered to take 27 hours of formal, online technical training designed for trade school instructors teaching high-voltage service (including more theory and engineering).

As of writing this nomination today, Paul is scheduled to take another three days of hands-on high-voltage training by one company and complete another hands-on training by a second company to learn how to use a module-by-module discharger to diagnose and ultimately revitalize or rebuild certain high-voltage battery packs, which is a service even beyond most dealerships. This caliber of high-voltage battery diagnostic equipment (and other specialized diagnostic equipment for 3-phase high-voltage electric machines/motors, etc.) is an investment made only in a handful of stores at this time.”

Paul graduated from Rosedale Technical Institute (now Rosedale Technical College) with a 4.0 GPA in 2004.

Paul says, “Throughout school, I was intimidated, scared, and unsure about vehicle technology and where my career would take me, [and] if I were going to have an auto career at all. My instructors’ ability to give me the knowledge and tools to succeed and instill confidence in me was amazing. Without them, I’d never have been ready to take on the auto repair world or any successful career.

I have now been a technician with Firestone for almost 19 years. Within the first three years as a tech, I achieved L1 Master Technician status. In 2022, I achieved the L3 HEV certification, and I can proudly say I have passed every ASE test I’ve taken. 

I am also a founding member of the Bridgestone Retail Council. It’s a group of about 20 technicians from across the country representing all technicians from their respective regions. We solve problems ranging from how many labor hours an inspection should pay to testing the newest scan tool we should purchase for the company.

That team is the best of the best, and it humbles you very quickly when you’re in the presence of some world-class technicians.”

Paul says, “For about eight years with Firestone, I was the Pittsburgh District’s technician trainer while working full-time as a lead technician in a store. Teaching the newest technicians within our company was definitely one of the highlights of my career.

To mold them the correct way early in their careers enhanced not only the company and the technician but myself as well. I became a better person and better technician during that time. The dual role has changed since then, but [I still] serve the teaching side at a more local level in my store and the surrounding stores. 

I’ve learned a ton of info in my 20 years in the business, and it benefits everyone to share it. I answer the call no matter if it’s a question from my coworkers or a call from a tech in a store 50 miles away.”

Paul’s nominator writes, “In our organization of 11,000+ technicians and 2200+ service centers, Paul was nominated several years ago to be one of only 18 technicians to represent the technician community. Paul accepted and is an active member of this elite council meeting biweekly to discuss anything that impacts the service center operations. If Paul comes across a new vehicle or a new problem that he feels may be of interest or value to other technicians, Paul shares it with the council and with our company’s Technical Operations so that other technicians can be more aware.

Paul also volunteers his time and effort to trial new tools and equipment being considered for wider placement across our network of stores. For example, Paul’s input regarding what scan tool functions were needed most at the store by technicians helped steer our company to literally invest millions of dollars in centrally-supplied scan tools across our network of stores purchased to solve real-world technician needs as opposed to being a cost-driven financial decision. In another example of Paul’s commitment to be a role model, Paul has contacted the corporate office several times to help answer HR-type benefit questions that various technicians have submitted to Paul because he has built their trust. I can share dozens of other examples where Paul is selflessly helping steer our stores to make better decisions for the larger technician population and to keep the company on the edge of servicing the emerging technology of today’s automobiles.”

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"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