Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F22

FIXED OPS JOURNAL

Student gets on the fast track to flat-rate mechanic

A

KEN WYSOCKY
foj@autonews.com

n old Chinese proverb notes that
what people hear, they forget; what
they see, they remember; but what
they do, they learn.
Rebekah McCandless-Bates can relate after
attending a 20-week maintenance and lightrepair course at the Matrix Trade Institute,
where doing hands-on repairs - over and
over and over again - is a core curriculum
concept.
" The online portion of the training, where
you learn procedures and concepts, was phenomenal, " says McCandless-Bates, 24. " And
then during the second half of each class, you
apply what you learn to what's physically in
front of you. It definitely was worth it, for sure. "
She recently was promoted to flat-rate mechanic from lube mechanic after one and a
half years at Honda of Mentor in Ohio, about
30 miles east of Cleveland.
Gary Dalton, service manager at the dealership, owned by Penske Automotive Group,
says he's very impressed with Matrix's facili-

Service Manager Gary Dalton says Rebekah
McCandless-Bates' progress is " incredible. "

ties and curriculum. In addition to McCandless-Bates, he has sent two experienced mechanics to the institute for specialized, twoweek training " boot camps. "
He says Matrix's digital curriculum, where
students' overnight homework consists of repair challenges presented in a format akin to a
video game, resonates with younger people.
Dalton hired McCandless-Bates, who
served four years in the U.S. Marine Corps, in
March 2019 at a dealership job fair.
" She's very disciplined, " he says. " She

jumped in with a great attitude and was willing to learn, so we put her through Matrix.
" She's my shining star, " he adds. " It's incredible to take someone with no experience, and
about one and a half years later, she's a flatrate technician. It takes some people five or
six years to do that. "
Dalton praises Matrix's emphasis on efficiency and repetition, which leads to more
proficient mechanics, not to mention a good
return on the dealership's $16,500 investment.
(Honda of Mentor offers tuition reimbursement as long as technicians sign an agreement to stay for 24 months.)
While it's difficult to quantify the return on
investment, Dalton says one thing is certain:
Better organized and more proficient mechanics work faster, with fewer repair comebacks.
" And the more hours they turn, the more
money we make, and the more money they
make, " he says.
" We still need to be compliant with factory
training, " he adds. " But from now on, our new
hires definitely will go through Matrix. " 

Efficiency focus helps turn tech's 15 hours into 45
KEN WYSOCKY

A

foj@autonews.com

sk Dave Eschbaugh about the value of
the Matrix Trade Institute and its
unconventional training methods,
and the service manager at
Porsche Beachwood thinks of Nico Grolimund, an hourly technician.
Grolimund, 20, has taken four of the twoweek " boot camp " specialty training sessions
at Matrix, located in suburban Cleveland. And
the results are striking, Eschbaugh says.
" Nico went from turning 15 flat-rate hours a
week to 45 flat-rate hours a week - a 200 percent increase, " Eschbaugh says. " Plus his abilities and his confidence are way up. "
Moreover, the technician is generating
$4,500 more in gross revenue per pay period.
" That's no small thing, " Eschbaugh points out.
Porsche Beachwood offers reimbursement
for the $3,000 cost of the training, with some
conditions, and the dealership is getting its investment back, Eschbaugh says.
" And we get a happier, more confident technician ... who knows he's valuable because

PAGE 22

DECEMBER 2020

Service Manager Dave Eschbaugh, left, says
Nico Grolimund's confidence grew.

we're investing in him. "
Grolimund concurs, noting the institute's emphasis on efficiency and repetition made him
more capable. He cites alignment training,
which included time challenges to see who
could do the fastest wheel alignment. " I learned
to do all the steps in the most efficient way, which
allows me to do alignments faster, " he says.
Even the simplest strategies can be big timesavers. Take training for oil changes and multipoint inspections, in which Matrix instructors emphasize step-reducing strategies.

" We were taught to walk around a vehicle
only once so we don't waste time walking
around it multiple times, " Grolimund says.
" All those trips around a car add up, so if you
can reduce them, you might save enough time
to do an extra oil change and multipoint inspection per day. "
Grolimund, who was hired in October 2018,
also liked the institute's half-day classes,
which allowed him to work part time while attending. He also says he now works more independently, as opposed to posing a lot of
questions to technicians who supervised him.
Eschbaugh concedes that at first he was
skeptical about Matrix. But any misgivings
disappeared after he visited the facility, located a couple blocks away from the dealership,
owned by Penske Automotive Group.
" It was more like a college environment
than a shop environment - very professional, " he says. " And they're teaching things that
no one else teaches, in my opinion. Right now,
we're so jammed, it's difficult to lose a technician. But I absolutely will send more technicians to Matrix when time permits. " 



Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020

Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - Intro
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F1
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F2
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - Contents
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F4
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F5
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F6
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F7
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F8
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F9
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F10
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F11
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F12
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F13
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F14
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F15
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F16
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F17
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F18
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F19
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F20
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F21
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F22
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F23
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F24
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F25
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F26
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F27
Fixed Ops Journal - December 2020 - F28
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