2018 World Class Technicians: Ryan Woods
As part of a weekly series, Ratchet+Wrench will take a look at 2018’s World Class Technician recipients, including a brief bio of their career, and their thoughts on the industry. Our third feature is on Ryan Woods of Sequim, Wash., who has worked for an ambulance fleet for the past 16 months.
There are an estimated 879,000 technicians in the United States, with more than 300,000 of them holding ASE certification. Nearly 2,000 technicians have earned the status of “World Class Technician” since its inception over 30 years ago.
To earn World Class status, a technician must achieve certification in 22 specialty areas during the 2017 certification test administered by ASE.
Can you give a brief bio on your career journey? What made you passionate about the automotive industry?
I’ve always liked cars and mechanical objects. I kept working at it, and it’s always something I’ve had interest in.
When I graduated high school, got a job in the industry for the summer. My first year after high school, I went to community college, and did the automotive program there for two years. So I have an associates in automotive technology. I did a third year, got a certificate in automotive technology alternative fuels. So I have three years of schooling in automotive technologies. I’ve been working in some relation to the field since I started in some way shape or form.
One of the techs I actually mentored under in college was the fleet manager, so he recruited me to work on the ambulance fleet where I work at now.
What’s your favorite part about working in the repair industry?
I like working on diesels, my favorite part is just the ability to go through something and fix it to make it work right and look good. The satisfaction you get when something that is complete and works.
What are your thoughts on the technician shortage currently facing the industry? What are some ways shops can get more people like yourself involved and passionate about auto repair?
I think that’s something the industry should look into. A lot of industries are more modern. There’s different things that they offer that other places haven’t caught up to speed with. With people who work on computers, the pay scale is a lot better in those than they are still in the automotive industry, because it’s a more old school style. It takes a lot of schooling to be a modern tech—the same amount of schooling it would take to work on computers or even in the medical field.
Also the tools that it takes for most technicians is kind of a drawback that other fields don’t require. That’s a big expense that has to come out of your pocket to be a technician. The automotive industry still seems to struggle with that a little bit.