ACtion Magazine - June 2016 - (Page 12)

Meet Dan Willkie of Miramar College, San Diego, CA By Marion J. Posen I had the opportunity to visit the beautiful campus of Miramar College last November and meet MACS member, Dan Willkie, the diesel technology chair. Dan had called us and offered to host a training clinic in his spacious diesel shop. Dan and Miramar gave MACS the platform to offer training for San Diego area technicians this past May 20 and 21st. When you meet Dan, you realize he is a no-nonsense, experienced instructor with clear goals for his students. "I teach diesel technology. My primary role is to teach diesel technology students the critical thinking, manipulative, and related skills (communication, computer, and soft skills) to allow them to be successful in this field. The courses I currently teach are diesel and CNG engine overhaul courses, fuel injection, and applied math and measuring," Dan explains. He also told me during my tour that students will have their pants pulled up and no hats on backwards in class. Automotive instructors have a wealth of challenges in turning out the next generation of desperately needed auto technicians Dan knows these challenges all too well and tells us, "My biggest challenge is overcoming the stigma of the grease monkey. Diesel technicians use computers, hand tools and applied critical-mechanical thinking skills to perform their job. Today's technician must know how to use computers and scan tools to communicate with engines, transmissions, brakes, and other electronically controlled systems. After the problem is identified they then have to affect a repair." Dan has advice for automotive students, their parents and potential employers. To the students he advises, "...that attention to detail, and strong study skills are required for success in this program. After graduation these are the same skills needed to be a MACS Member Dan Wilkie. 12 ACTION * June 2016 successful diesel technician. I wish that parents knew that community colleges are the best deal for their child, no matter what the course of study. In California, the cost is less than $50.00 per unit plus books; a degree is about $3000.00 - $4,000.00, which is very reasonable. I want potential employers to know that there are two ways to hire our students. First, wait until they are at or near graduation, and hire them as they apply. The preferred method is to develop an individual internship program after they have completed two semesters. This will demonstrate to the employer that the students are vested and interested in this career. During their second year, the student can work around their school schedule. This type of internship is a win-win for the student and the employer." Aftermarket companies can help automotive programs by donating lab and learning resources and offering access to their online learning tools. "Miramar College is a MACS member for two reasons: first and foremost, MACS is a technical resource for air conditioning components and systems that can be used in an instructional environment; second, MACS is a resource for our students," Dan says. Gene Choe, Miramar's A/C instructor was able to attend MACS Training Event and another MACS seminar. Dan tells us, "The information he learned at those seminars has improved our A/C course." We asked Dan how changes to refrigerants used in the industry affect automotive programs. He replied "Our biggest concern when refrigerant types change is twofold: What changes do we have to make with our curriculum, tooling, training, and safety instruction to ensure that our students are competitive in the work place? Are there funds available to: purchase tooling, training aids, and faculty training?" What is the one piece of advice Dan offers to his peers in automotive education? "Engage your students and encourage them to get their degree." ❆

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ACtion Magazine - June 2016

ACtion Magazine - June 2016
Back to Basics
Service Port
Leonard's law
Virtual View
Last Watch
Member Profile
Cooling Corner
Industry News
Association News
New Products and Services

ACtion Magazine - June 2016