Sandra grew up with two brothers and a dad who were always tinkering with cars. She learned to do minor tune-up jobs like oil changes, brakes, and replacing the points and condenser (when cars used to have those). She learned some of this in a VW repair class she took with her dad. Her older brother, while not pursuing this as a career, knows quite a bit about car repair. Her younger brother David went on to become a master ASE technician, and he eventually became head tech at an Infiniti dealership, until his untimely passing. One of David’s goals was to write and publish a book to help young techs with all the non-technical soft skills they often seemed to lack, and as a result these techs failed to make it in an auto shop. In 2012, he successfully published, and sold, The Auto Tech’s Handbook: An Insider’s Guide to Life in the Repair Business. The book is now out-of-print, so Sandra decided to further help young techs with their soft skills by writing more materials. Her twenty years of teaching experience as a private math tutor and writing study materials for her students, as well as various bookkeeping and office management jobs that included writing procedures manuals, has made the task of writing a workbook for auto techs an enjoyable experience. Combined with facts, advice, and inside information from auto shop managers and techs, she has put together a workbook designed for the auto tech student to understand the soft-skills side of the business.
David J. Ellingsen:
David Ellingsen, was a master ASE (L1 certified) and master Infiniti tech with over thirty years of professional experience. Throughout his career Dave often found himself working directly with owners and managers, helping solve problems with tricky repairs, customer relations, new technicians, shop policies, and warranty issues. Throughout these interactions Dave was able to gain a strong insight into the way the repair business operates and how the nontechnical aspects can impact the career of new or experienced technicians. By passing these insights along during his on-the-job training of other technicians, Dave earned a reputation for improving not only their quality of work, but their efficiency, money-earning ability, and customer-care skills as well.
Dave was one of those mechanics who could be called a “natural.” His interest in everything that rolls began at age eight, building go-carts and eventually attaching engines to their crude wooden frames. By age twelve he was tearing into the family junkers, learning even more about engines, and also about electricity, including the ability to hot-wire a ’61 Plymouth after the keys were confiscated as the result of an unauthorized joyride to the local gas station. Right then and there was when Dave understood he had an easy knack for working on cars. Many more tear-downs and rebuilds in the parent’s driveway would follow before landing his first real job at a local independent repair shop at the age of twenty. From there it’s been one wild adventure after another, and so much fun that Dave could no longer resist the urge to share the best of his stories with the world at large.