10-31 Loudon career fair

More than 800 New Hampshire high school students attended the Automotive Career Fair put on by the New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association on Oct. 18. (Courtesy photo/New Hampshire Motor Speedway)

LOUDON — The New Hampshire Automobile Dealers Association held its annual Automotive Career Fair at Manchester Community College on Oct. 18, busing in more than 800 New Hampshire high school juniors and seniors to showcase the possible career paths they can choose, including jobs with New Hampshire Motor Speedway or even NASCAR.

"We do this event every year so the students get to hear firsthand from the college, industry and partners about the career pathways and how this is a high tech career that leads to high wages," said Jessica Dade, assistant executive director and career coordinator of the New Hampshire Automotive Education Foundation. "We're very excited, because this year, we had 18 out of the 20 CTE [Career Technical Education] centers from the state come, and we've had over 800 students come and find out what lies ahead for them in the exciting world of automotive careers."

The career fair included a question and answer session with six panel members, led by Dade and Pete McNamara, president of the association, and a vendor area that allowed the students to interact with those currently working in the automotive field, including a show-and-tell with the speedway’s NASCAR-style show car. 

There were four panel sessions, each set up for 200 students at a time, where the students heard from five working professionals including Alex Guilbeault, assistant operations manager at the speedway. Guilbeault and the other panelists spoke about their automotive background, career path and the importance of education while offering advice to help the students on their journey into the automotive world.

"Keep the racing and driving fast for the speedway," said Guilbeault, who is also a semi-professional motorcycle racer. "We work in a fun fast business, but you've got to keep a clean driving record if you want to be able to work in the automotive industry and drive company vehicles to attend business trips, visit other speedways and travel to other racing events."

When not in a panel session, the students visited with representatives from the state’s community colleges, various dealerships and the Air Force. They also had the opportunity to visit with representatives from the speedway to learn about the technical aspect of working with a NASCAR race car. They were able to check out the engine, learn about different parts of a technical inspection and even use the track bar to adjust the ride height of the car just like professional race teams do throughout a race to change how the car is handling.

For ticket information for events at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, including the upcoming Gift of Lights, Nov. 23 – Dec. 31, visit www.NHMS.com, or call 603-783-4931.

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