World Class Technicians: Paul Seghposs
Ratchet+Wrench continues its weekly series looking at 2018’s World Class Technician recipients, including a brief bio of their career, and their thoughts on the industry. This week’s feature is on Paul Seghposs, owner and operator at Freemont, Calif.-based Glenmoor Automotive.
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.
What drew you to the automotive industry? What made you passionate about it?
When I was a kid I was a pump jockey. My boss caught me working on cars after hours. He fired me from the gas pumps, but told me he wasn’t going to fire me from the business—he was going to put me in the back to fix cars.
Can you give a brief bio on your career journey? What made you passionate about the automotive industry?
It really started as a teenager. When I was in high school, I was already ahead of some of the students there when I went through the vocational training. I got out of high school and immediately went to work. I took some part time college classes at night.
It’s a never-ending journey of education in this business. The bandwidth of knowledge needed in this business equals that of any doctor out there. So yeah, schooling throughout my career, I never stopped, and it’s still ongoing.
I ran a facility in New York until I moved out here. When I was 26 I moved out to California. I worked as tech out here for a year and a half, then bought my own facility there. Had a shop from 1992 to 1999, and then after that I did consulting, and worked for one of the top shops in the U.S. for about four years. I was production manager there, then a general manager. Then I got my own place again at Glenmoor Automotive.
What inspired you to earn world class certification?
Just the challenge of it.. I already had 20 some odd certifications. I didn’t need to do it, I just decided to. I just looked at it, and realized that all I had to do was the truck series, so I took that last year. I just wanted to do it for the challenge. It’s specifically counts to 22 that are supposed to be there. I think now I have 33 or 34 certifications. The only thing I’m not certified in school bus and transit bus work.
What are your thoughts on the technician shortage currently facing the industry? What are some ways shops can get people more like yourself involved and passionate about auto repair?
It has to start at the top, and the shop owners have to demand their technicians get certified. That is the only way. Or a law has to be passed saying techs have to be certified to work on cars. The bad thing about that is who’s going to look it over, who’s going to be the oversight committee on that? How are you going to work that out? It’s a delicate dance we do. To recognize the technicians that are working on your car as technicians and not as laborers or grease monkeys or whatever else, I think it’s going to have to start at the top.
With the level of certification, there has to be a certain level of education with that. I know some ASE techs who never spent a day in college that were basically self taught. They’re bright guys. If that’s what it takes, and you pass the certification, then good. But there are way too many techs out there who are not certified, and it is kind of scary.