OTC is on the road again in search of our alumni. The road trip this time was a little shorter, just about 45-minute drive southeast of downtown Cleveland we stopped in at Steinel’s Autowerks, tucked inside one of the many industrial parks in Twinsburg, OH. Steinel’s would be a destination stop for any discriminating Porsche owner looking for a quick, correct diagnosis and repair, precise, detailed and personal service on their sports or race car.
2012 OTC Automotive alumni (AT-176) Kristopher Brickman recently made a huge investment in his long-term future and bought half of this 33-year old well-established business. Business is thriving where currently it takes three weeks to get an appointment – and this is their slow season. The only thing holding them back from expanding is finding quality techs – seems to be a theme throughout the industry. Brickman graduated from OTC with perfect attendance, 6 quarters of honor roll, a student of the month distinction and passed 8 of the required ASE certifications tests to become a Master Certified technician.
He was working part-time at Steinel’s Autowerks while still a student at OTC. He chose Steinel’s over two other job offers based on several factors, the main one being no layoffs. You might think that with such a specific vehicle brand there would be downtime. Cleveland and NE Ohio is not an area one would associate with elevated high-end sports car sales – one look in their shop and parking lot tells you a different story. Two niche areas where Steinel’s stands out is their name and reputation in the racing industry offering set up and maintenance of race cars, along with trackside assistance during race day. They also specialize in working on models with air-cooled engines.
Modern dealerships don’t have the talent, equipment or knowledge to work on these models and many times refer their customers with these later model vehicles to Steinel’s. For the Aurora native, Brickman entering the automotive field was a leap of faith. In high school he concentrated on computers and software, thinking one day he would be a software designer. His knowledge of computers and electrical helped him understand and excel at automotive electrical and diagnostic systems. Many OTC students have grand dreams of opening their own businesses right after graduation. Brickman says his 6-plus-year journey was one he needed to take to refine his talent as a technician and then to learn the business.