Ohio Tire Dealers Offer Mobile Training For Members

Dec. 13, 2022

The Ohio Tire & Automotive Association (OTAA) has partnered with DRIV Inc., which oversees Garage Gurus - a major automotive service training program - in an effort to “upskill” its members’ technicians.

As part of the program, Garage Gurus provides two, 53-foot mobile trailers that feature a classroom area and tire service equipment. The trailers drive to OTAA members’ locations for on-site training sessions.

The first session took place this past August near Columbus, Ohio, in conjunction with the association’s annual golf outing.

An investment in members

Jeff Wallick, president of the OTAA, says the decision to partner with Garage Gurus was not taken lightly. But at the end of the day, OTAA “made the decisions to invest in our members. We know that our members are - and I mean this quite literally - keeping America moving forward. So the responsibility we feel to serve them well is immense.” 

Wallick believes OTAA members will see a return on the investment as their employees will become “even more proficient at working on the latest and greatest vehicle technology.”

“If we’re going to succeed and grow as an industry, it’s incumbent upon us to make an investment through initiatives and partnerships like we have with Garage Gurus,” says Alex Boehnke, OTAA legislative director.

The mobility of Garage Gurus’ training trailer was a key factor for the OTAA, he adds. “Asking small business owners to pull out their technicians for training is a big ask. They’re trying to do as much business as possible and they’re short on workforce.

“If we are able to develop a partnership like this that saves time and brings the training to them, it’s all the more valuable.”

“Our objective is to make it as simple and convenient as possible for our members to show up and engage with industry-leading training in a way that’s best for them,” says Wallick.

More than 40 courses

Garage Gurus’ trainers are professionals who have 15 to 30 years of hands-on experience and also are Automotive Service Excellence-certified, according to Wallick. More than 40 courses are available, from ride control to brake systems. 

“The training is going back and forth between what I am going to call theory and application,” says Wallick. It consists of “a little bit of watching videos, a little bit of discussion with the teacher and then they’re actually putting their hands to work on actual equipment to apply what they have learned.”

Garage Gurus tries to keep sessions to about 12 students. The times of the sessions can vary, depending on trainees’ availability.

Wallick says that technicians can attend one eight-hour training session or two four-hour day sessions. The “sweet spot” that OTAA found are four-hour sessions, he explains.

This allows OTAA members to keep technicians working at their dealerships for as long as possible before pulling them out for training, which the OTAA pays for.

“A technician may show up for work at 7 a.m. and they’re going to get jobs done in the morning and then have time to grab lunch and head to training at 2 p.m.,” says Wallick. “Our role at the OTAA is to facilitate that training and take care of any friction in the process.

“In this case, that means paying for the training because we really do see this as an investment in our OTAA members, their technicians and our industry,” explains Wallick, who adds the association will continue to promote the program to members.

About the Author

Madison Gehring | Associate Editor

Madison Gehring is Modern Tire Dealer's associate editor. A graduate of Ohio State University, Gehring holds a bachelors degree in journalism. During her time at Ohio State, she wrote for the university's student-run newspaper, The Lantern, and interned at CityScene Media Group in Columbus, Ohio.