On the Rise: Roger Strider
Automotive technician | Thomas Tire & Automotive | Age: 23
What was your first job in the industry?
General service technician which involved changing oil, and rotating, balancing, repairing, and replacing tires.
What attracted you to the industry?
I have always enjoyed being around vehicles and working on them. Growing up we never took any vehicle to a repair shop or to anyone else to get it repaired unless it was for tires.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
The biggest challenge is keeping up to date on what is coming out on new vehicles and learning how the new features and systems work.
Who has had the biggest influence on your career?
My Dad taught me everything I know on older vehicles from replacing brake pads to rebuilding a 350 Chevrolet motor and most everything in between. However Glenn Williamson and David Patrick have taught me a lot with diagnostics, computer programming, and using an oscilloscope to figure out problems on newer vehicles and properly repair them.
What is your biggest accomplishment in the industry?
For me personally I would have to say my biggest accomplishment is knowing where I am at 22 years old in the automotive industry, from knowing how to repair brake problems to repairing an internal engine problem to using an oscilloscope to diagnose a bad PCM, install it, and program it, without it having to tow it to the dealership to be programmed. The biggest accomplishment I have in Thomas Tire & Automotive is taking pride in my work and turning the most mechanical hours in the company for two years in a row.
Tell us about your current job and responsibilities. How do you spend your work day?
Depending on the day I could be doing anything from brakes and alignments to drivability problems, check engine lights, abs, airbag or replacing a motor. The main responsibility I have is to make sure customer’s vehicles are getting fixed properly and in a safe and timely manner.
What do you expect to be doing 20 years from now?
I expect to still be working in the industry, either as an automotive technician or as a manager.
What’s the biggest issue facing the industry today?
I think the biggest issue in the industry today is finding people who want to repair vehicles as a career, and finding people who are capable of diagnosing and repairing vehicles properly.
What’s the one thing you wish someone would have told you before you entered the industry?
How much money they had invested in tools over the course of their career.
What class(es) do you wish you had paid more attention to in high school?
Biology. I barely passed it because it didn’t interest me. I was always ready to get out of core classes to go to the classes I actually enjoyed — construction, masonry, agriculture, welding and small engine repair.
What’s the worst cliché or generalization made about your generation?
That we are all lazy. While it is very true about a lot of the individuals in my generation there are some of us who work very hard and are the farthest thing from lazy you can find.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to my beautiful wife Sara and we have two children together, a boy, Aiden who is 2 years old, and a little girl Emma who is 5 months old.
What’s your favorite weekend activity?
Playing with my children and spending time with my family.
What keeps you up at night?
A vehicle sitting in the shop that I didn’t get diagnosed and repaired before I went home.
How do you encourage others to enter the industry?
Cars are like people, they are not going away anytime soon. As long as people are driving, vehicles are going to break down, need maintenance and tires. Being an automotive technician is a skill no one can take from you.
Tell us something about yourself others might not know.
I hate being wrong but it’s part of life; no one is perfect.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
Buying parts to restore old Chevrolets.
Name a talent you wish you had.
To be ambidextrous.
What’s your favorite food?
If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
What’s your favorite childhood memory?
Being in the garage with my Dad while he worked on tractors, lawn mowers, cars and trucks. I always enjoyed watching until I got older to really help, then it became really fun.
If we took your cell phone away and said it would cost you $1,000 to get it back, how long would you survive until you paid the ransom?
From now on. It’s not a necessity to life.
Other than your cell phone, what’s a tool you must have to get through a work day?