This past summer, eleven of America’s top technicians competed in Detroit, Michigan, to be named the 2022 Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper Technician of the Year hosted by DRiV and Garage Gurus. Nominated by their local warehouse distributor, the technicians arrived in the Motor City to compete against each other by completing a custom ASE test. The technicians answered 100 questions in 90 minutes, vying for the ultimate title, trophy and awards ceremony to be held during the 2022 Aftermarket Jackpot Convention in Las Vegas.
Upon completing the ASE exam, technicians and their guest spent time enjoying Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum, witnessing Henry Ford’s assembly line at the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, and hitting Champion® Motor Speedway at the M1 Concourse.
“This trip has made me appreciate my affiliation with Auto Value and the Alliance on a higher level,” said Ross Colket, 2022 technician finalist and owner of Colket Technical in Lansdale, PA, customer of Eastern Warehouse Distributors. “I have already made plans with one of my technicians for him to run for 2023 Technician of the Year!”
Fellow finalist Phil Clark from Barnes Auto Service in Louisville, KY, agreed, “it was an honor to be recognized.” Clark is a customer of Moog Louisville Warehouse.
During a group dinner, the greatest surprise of the event was revealed – all eleven technician finalists and their guests are headed to Las Vegas. The 2022 Auto Value and Bumper to Bumper Technician of the Year winner will be announced on stage Thursday, November 4th at the Jackpot Convention in Las Vegas during AAPEX.
“We really wanted to build the suspense of the moment and keeping the secret of the reveal was important,” said JC Washbish, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for the Alliance. “Our Technician of the Year finalists will lead more than 3,000 technicians and shop owners during the Jackpot Convention; and we couldn’t be more honored to have them represent us. Holding the Finalist Ceremony Dinner at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation was the most appropriate venue. We were surrounded by so much history while making history of our own with these wonderful technicians.
“A big thank you to DRiV and Garage Gurus. They were gracious hosts for this event. Our technicians use their products every day and having professionals from DRiV and Garage Gurus involved in the event helped showcase how much we value technicians,” added Washbish.
“At DRiV, we are so proud of our Garage Gurus sponsorship of the AutoValue / Bumper to Bumper Technician of the Year program,” said Kevin Reamer, Director of Program Groups with DRiV. “It was a great time, testing the finalists from around the U.S. inside our Mobile Automotive Training Center, showing off many of our great Garage Gurus assets, and just as importantly, spending time celebrating with these Technician of the Year finalists; their expertise and passion for the business was so impressive. What a great group of people – I can’t wait to see who is the ‘best of the best’ in Las Vegas!”
For Mike Veenstra, the search is on for location number three.
But for the lifelong Grand Rapids, MI, resident and third-generation repair shop owner, the path to owning multiple locations has been a winding one.
Mike started in the automotive industry 42 years ago, in 1980, when he graduated from a local tech school and went to work for the family business. Veenstra’s Garage was founded in 1927 by Mike’s grandfather and was truly a family affair. When he first joined the team, Mike worked as a technician alongside his brother and for his father.