In Gary Reynold’s classroom a sign above the whiteboard reads, Pass with Hard Work. The message is simple, “this is not easy. That’s why it is called WORK.” Gary Reynolds has been a successful automotive teacher for the Hudson (OH) School System for twenty-four years. Lessons he passes along to his students come from 20+ years of industry experience working as an automotive technician. “This is not an easy job, it is, however, a very rewarding career.” While he was a student at OTC, he very much appreciated the strictly regimented training. “It created a good learning environment and the expectations were clear. You knew what needed to be done and always knew where you stood,” he says. At the high school level, Reynolds takes a calm approach to teaching and administers weekly reality checks. “Many students are in a hurry, they want to be the expert engine rebuilder.
They need to master the basics first, basic knowledge of systems and how they work, tool usage, and to develop good work habits – be on time, be on task, maintain a clean work environment and be organized.” A mantra familiar to all in this industry is, “if you don’t take the time to do it right, you must have time to do it over.” At the time Reynolds graduated from OTC, the economic environment in the Cleveland area was much different than it is today. “Many of the trucking firms were moving out. Getting a job in the diesel field at that time was difficult for a recent grad with no employment history in the industry.” Reynolds made the decision to steer his career in the direction of the automotive repair field and he’s never looked back. “I can say I have never been unemployed. There are always vehicles that need repaired and maintained.” Some of the challenges Reynolds faced as a new technician were normal.
Working as a flat rate technician, “trying to be sure you did the job correctly while watching the clock is not easy. Many employers thought that as a graduate, you must be good and sometimes their expectations were unrealistic.” Reynolds advice to current students is, “make the commitment, there is no 9:00 to 5:00 in this industry. Invest the time in continuing and updating your training. Your commitment and investment will last a lifetime.”