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First Garage Gurus training center opens

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First Garage Gurus training center opens

Federal-Mogul Motorparts Inc. is opening the doors to a network of training centers so automotive technicians, service writers and shop owners can brush up on their skills and get acquainted with the latest automotive technology. The company’s first Garage Gurus center, in suburban Chicago, celebrated its grand opening April 14, 2015.

The 15,000-square-foot space, located next door to Federal-Mogul’s sealing systems manufacturing facility, features two bays and classroom space. Plus, it serves as home base for service vans outfitted with interactive instruction tools. Those vans roll on the road and go straight to service shops to help automotive professionals troubleshoot and fix consumers’ vehicles.

The first four Garage Gurus locations are opening this month, in Skokie, Ill.; Van Nuys, Calif.; Bronx, N.Y.; and St. Louis, Mo. Federal-Mogul plans to open 15 centers across the U.S. by the end of 2015.

Federal-Mogul CEO Dan Ninivaggi says the concept is being heralded as innovative, but really he considers it a return to the 116-year-old company’s roots.

“One thing we made a mistake in is we cut back in training,” Ninivaggi says. Helping technicians understand the advances in the industry, and giving them one-on-one assistance, makes them more useful to the millions of consumers who turn to them each year.

“Our job is to make you guys successful,” Ninivaggi told the technicians and shop owners who attended the opening of the Garage Gurus center in Chicago.

Ed Brewington says he went to the grand opening in search of one thing: knowledge.

“Any time I can learn something, it helps. I can help the customer quicker, help the customer better, and it’s more money I can make.”

Brewington spent time talking to Mike Hinderer, a technical product specialist who operates one of the “Gurus on the Go” vans. Brewington, who is 62, says he’s spent most of his adult life working on cars. But there are plenty of times the work “gets hairy,” and he needs some help. “You have to know where to turn.”

During the four-hour grand opening technicians toured the facility, munched on food from Chicago food trucks, and met Danny “The Count” Koker, the star of the History Channel’s “Counting Cars” reality television show.

Koker says when he grew up public school systems offered a bevy of automotive training programs for interested youth. Now those programs are disappearing, which he said made the Garage Gurus model all the more impressive.

For more information about Garage Gurus, visit www.FMgaragegurus.com.

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