World Class Technicians: Jonathan Dickerman
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 Jonathan Dickerman, a technician at Sullivan Tire in Weymouth, Mass.
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.
Where do you work, and how long have you worked there?
I work for Sullivan Tire and have been there for a little over 16 years. Sullivan Tire is a family owned independent repair shop with 69 retail locations across New England, they also have a commercial division, an OTR division and an automotive lift installation division.
What drew you to the automotive industry, and what made you passionate about it?
I am a third-generation technician, so being around the industry my whole life is what drew me towards it. I knew from a young age that I wanted to be an automotive technician, and my father took me under his wing from a young age and taught me everything he knew about the industry and set me on the right career path.
Can you give a brief bio on your career journey? What made you passionate about the automotive industry?
My career started while I was still in high school. I worked part time for Sullivan Tire and eventually shifted to full time when I graduated. I started as a general service technician doing tires and oil changes until I graduated onto alignments. I was on the alignment rack full time for a few years all while taking advantage of every training opportunity Sullivan had to offer me. During this time I had also begun taking my ASE tests and had become an ASE master by the time I was 18.
Eventually I had moved into a full time technician role and I became L1 certified within a year or so of becoming a master technician. After several years as a technician I took on the role as production manager for the location that I was in and remained in that role until taking on a new project roughly six years ago.
At this time we were seeing that module programming was a huge part of our industry, and although we were able to diagnose any problems that came into the shop, many vehicles had to be brought to a dealership for programming following repair. It was this realization that lead us to create the advanced mobile diagnostic team, the group started with me driving to all of our locations in New England in a Ford Escort and performing module programming and diagnostic work using factory scan tools. Six years later we currently have four full time technicians with vans outfitted with the latest in OE scan tools and diagnostics equipment servicing both our own locations and other independent shops, body shops and dealerships. Interestingly enough an article in Ratchet+Wrench magazine is what inspired me to strive to become a world class technician.
What’s your favorite part about working in the repair industry?
My favorite part about working in our industry is the rapid advances we see in technology. I really enjoy learning about new systems that are being introduced in vehicles and then trying to troubleshoot them when they come into our shops broken.
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?
The technician shortage is a very real problem that is affecting our industry. I feel that we need to change the way society in general views the automotive field. Instead of a fall back that you can go to if nothing else pans out, we need to show that the automotive field is a viable and gratifying career choice. One way we can do this is to promote more at a younger age, before kids get into high school giving them an opportunity to attend technical high schools and hone their skills prior to going to work or onto further education. We also need to find a way to compete with the other trades, comparing the automotive trade to plumbing or carpentry we can easily see that the initial investment to overall wages are significantly different.