By ROGER AMSDEN, for THE LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A career as an automobile technician means working in "a very honorable trade" and offers those who make that choice an opportunity to contribute the community and the health of the local economy.
That's the assessment of Mark Miller, Global Director of Service and Warranty Operations for General Motors, who toured Lakes Region Community College's new 21,000-square-foot, $4 million state-of-the-art automotive lab Tuesday morning prior to speaking to a meeting of General Motors dealerships service manager's from all over the state.
Miller said he was impressed with the new facility and the opportunities it provides for training auto technicians with the latest in technology. The new center, which was completed earlier this year, features 17 vehicle bays and all the latest diagnostic equipment.
He said auto technicians can earn six-figure salaries are in great demand all across the country and LRCC is helping to meet that need.
The college has been a part of the General Motors Automotive Service Education Program since 1991, the first year that Mike Parker, who now heads the college's automotive service education program, taught at the college. Parker and Jamie Decato, an assistant professor and GM-ASEP coordinator at the college, led the GM officials on the tour. Decato is a 1996 graduate of the GM-ASEP program who was at the top of his class.
Miller, who has spent 26 years with General Motors, including four years in China, says that he still misses the actual day to day experience of working on automobiles and says that the lack of vocational high school programs nationwide has led to an overall general decline in the mechanical aptitude which the GM-ASEP program is designed to counteract. There are close to 60 of the ASEP programs supported nationwide by GM.
He said that major changes in the auto business since he first started include higher customer expectations as well as new technology. "A lot of people live in their cars and have high expectations for them." said Miller.
The college offers a two-year associate degree in Auto Technology and GM credits toward certification in all areas through their ASEP. LRCC also offers a general auto tech program.
Lakes Region Community College hosted a General Motors Service Manager's meeting Tuesday morning. Prior to the meeting a tour of the college's new 21,000-square-foot, $4 million state-of-the-art automotive lab was taken by Ryan Bunn, GM District Manager After Sales for New Hampshire; Peter Delvecchio, GM Regional Manager After Sales for New England and Mark Miller, Global Director of Service and Warranty Operations for General Motors. They are shown with Mike Parker, head of the college's automotive program; and Jamie Decato, coordinator for the college's Automotive Service Education Program. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)
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