Mark Giammalvo specializes in driveability diagnostics at his family business, Sam Giammalvo's Auto Sales & Service, Inc. in New Bedford, MA.
Mark, who has been with the business for
over 20 years, is an ASE Master
Technician and Parts Specialist. He also holds the ASE L1 certification,
and has an associates degree in business
(Printed in the Journal of The Alliance of Automotive Service Providers, AASP)
Have you had to place an advertisement for a technician lately? If not, you haven't missed much. Lets just say there's not a lot out their to pick from.
We recently placed two advertisements in our local paper. One ad for a technician and one for an auto reconditioner. The advertisement for the technician stressed the importance of ASE certifications and automotive service experience. Just the technicians' ad alone generated about 60 applications. Only five out of that group were decent enough to warrant an interview with yours truly. I must say, I did meet some interesting people. I learned everything from the latest styles in facial piercing to the perceived importance of ASE certifications. Surprisingly, many of the people I spoke to said they only kept up on their ASE certifications if the shop paid for the tests. Now, the concept of employers reimbursing for successfully completed tests is not new to me. However, I found it disheartening that the reimbursement factor was such a strong motivator. To me, it always seemed like most technicians took the exams for their own merit. Then again, when I took my ASE re-certifications this spring I remember witnessing a similar situation. Prior to the tests beginning, I overheard two other technicians talking about the tests. One of the technicians said: "I only take these damn things because my boss covers the cost, if it wasn't for that I wouldn't be here." I remember thinking how sad that was. Many years ago I can remember the satisfaction I felt when I passed my first ASE test. I was really proud to display both my certificate and the arm patch. A few years later, my Master Technician and L1 accomplishments furthered that pride.
One of the few hopefuls that made it to the interview process with me was a technician with expired ASE certifications. That didn't bother me as I knew I could coax him to renew them in the event he was hired. This technician was working on diesel engines at a local truck shop but wanted to get back to his love of "working on cars." I must admit, he really knocked me for a loop with one of his statements. He told me that he wanted me to know something right up front before I hired him. This guy actually told me that, on average, he comes in late two to three days a week. He said that it was just a "thing" with him and he didn't want me to take it the wrong way. Come to find out, he even told his current employers this at hiring but they are still busting his chops about it. Now, I can't express in words the great restraint it took to prevent from busting out laughing right in front of him. I wanted to say: "Ok, you're all done . . . Next!"
You've got to admit, he was honest.
In the end we hired an ASE certified technician with more than 30 years experience and a competent automotive reconditioner. Although it took over four months to find the people we wanted, it was well worth the wait.