AWARDING

FUTURE TECHS

&

HONORING

WORKING TECHS

AWARDING

FUTURE TECHS

&

HONORING

WORKING TECHS

VOTE:

February 14-28th

WINNERS ANNOUNCED:

March 7th at Mecum Glendale & Partner Summit

FUTURE TECHS

&

WORKING TECHS

VOTE NOW!

To vote, please select one name from the list below in the "Future Tech" category.

To vote, please select one name from the list below in the "Working Tech" category.

Please enter your email to verify your vote.

GET TO KNOW THEM

Delve into the stories behind the champions of FUTURE TECHS and WORKING TECHS. Learn about their groundbreaking work before casting your vote.

AUTOMOTIVE & MOTOSPORT

AVIATION, MOTORCYCLE & MARINE

COLLISION, RESTORATION & WELDING

DIESEL

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

FUTURE TECHS

FUTURE TECH

Misael Rodriguez

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

FUTURE TECH

Zoe Pernites

Virginia – Aviation Institute of Maintenance

FUTURE TECH

Madysen Smith

Pennsylvania – Dauphin County Technical School

FUTURE TECH

Alejandra Rivas

Texas – Western Technical College

FUTURE TECH

Michael MeiER

Virginia – Centura College

WORKING TECHS

WORKING TECH

Dustin Thomas

Texas- CarMax

WORKING TECH

Joshua Borel

Texas – Chennault Aviation Academy

WORKING TECH

Kevin Walker

Pennsylvania – Caliber Collision

WORKING TECH

Christopher Heil

Arizona – TA Truck Service

WORKING TECH

Paul Herold

Pennsylvania – Firestone Complete Auto Care

GRAND PRIZE

2 WINNERS

ASPIRING TECH & WORKING TECH

AWARDING

FUTURE TECHS

&

HONORING

WORKING TECHS

NOMINATIONS:

November 9th -January 14th

VOTE:

February 14-28th

WINNERS ANNOUNCED:

March 7th at Mecum Glendale & Partner Summit

GRAND PRIZE

2 WINNERS

ASPIRING TECH & WORKING TECH

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
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!

RUNNER UP PRIZES

8 WINNERS

ASPIRING TECH & WORKING TECH

$500 AutoZone gift card

MEET THE JUDGES

ChrisFix

YouTuber

John Gardner

TV Host

Micki Woods

Podcaster

Emily Reeves

YouTuber

Brandon Steckler

Technical Editor

JP Emerson

Podcaster

CHarles Sanville

YouTuber

Sabré COOK

Driver

Frank Leutz

Radio Host

Six, MBP, & Shoreline

Podcasters

AWARDS CATEGORIES

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.

HOW IT WORKS

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.

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.

ALEJANDRA RIVAS

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.”

Dustin Thomas

Working Technician
Automotive & Motorsports Category
CarMax
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!”

JOSHUA BOREL

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 Kn