By Austin Rexinger
The Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association and Erie Community College will host the 2018 NFADA Ron Smith Memorial AutoTech Competition this Saturday, Jan. 13. Teams of two high school automotive seniors will run through a series of diagnostic, workstation and performance tests to measure their automotive technical skills.
We sat down for a Q&A with Kyle Jung, 22, of Sanborn to see what he’s been up to over the last five years. Jung was the senior champion in 2013, and a proud graduate of the Ford ASSET program at ECC. Jung currently works as a technician for Basil Ford in Niagara Falls.
Austin Rexinger: Back when you were in high school, how did you hear about this event?
Kyle Jung: I learned about the event through my automotive program through BOCES and was one of the two best students selected out of my class.
AR: Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in the automotive industry?
KJ: I always wanted to be in the automotive field ever since I was young. I always helped my family with working on their vehicles and our yard equipment.
AR: How do you see this industry evolving, and what does that mean for young students who are currently interested?
KJ: I see this industry evolving endlessly. Every day there is a new development to make vehicles safer, more efficient and more powerful than the last generation. For the upcoming students it means that they will require more training in electronics and alternative fuels, with more usage of ethanol, CNG, and the usage of electric and hybrid vehicles.
AR: How excited are you to remain involved in the AutoTech event?
KJ: I’m very excited to still have a role in the event. I enjoy helping these upcoming students show their skills and learn new skills for the trade.
AR: How much do you value the experience that you gained through the AutoTech program?
KJ: I value the experience I had because it helped me find a place in the career I always wanted in the automotive field.
AR: What advice to you have for all of the students participating in the AutoTech event this Saturday?
KJ: The advice I have for the students is to stay focused, be safe, and most importantly, have fun.
Jung is a car-guy through and through. His personal auto history includes a 2014 Ford Focus ST, while he currently drives a 2017 Volkswagen GTI Sport, and is hoping to pick up a 2017 Shelby GT350 in the near future. His dream job is to work for Gas Monkey Garage in Dallas, Texas.
Jung will be judging the high school juniors on Saturday as they compete against a stopwatch in an Olympic-style format to dismount and mount tires using a tire-changing machine.
For more information about automotive careers, please contact Charlie Pfeil at the NFADA at 580-7180 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Austin Rexinger is a student at Canisius College, an automotive journalist and an intern at the NFADA.