Tool raffle raises thousands for automotive education

Instructors G "Jerry" Truglia, John Thornton, David Decourcey and Peter Meier headlined TST's (Technicians Service Training, annual training event on March 23rd where the instructors taught misfire diagnostics and Volkswagen gasoline direct injection. However, the most popular part of the event was the tool raffle.

Every attendee received one free ticket, with additional tickets being sold throughout the day. The money raised helps TST, the nation's only aftermarket technician training not-for-profit, provide future training events.

Prizes were given out during every break, with the winner for the bigger prizes announced later in the day in front of the whole crowd.

"This is our tenth annual Big Event in the tri-state area," said Pierre Respaut, vice president of TST. "We have been holding training for years, but the last few years the amount of tool donations has started to grow.

"It has become the biggest part of the event!"

The OTC Genisys Touch created a lot of buzz, simply because the prototype of the tool was just unveiled in October and they are just now hitting the streets.

Quite a few PC-based diagnostic systems were given away. Autoland Scientech donated a DOL Deluxe scan tool. A couple students walked away with J2534 Mongoose Cables from Drew Tech. John Thornton's class on Volkswagen diagnostics featured the Ross Tech VCDS quite a bit, which was also given away during the event.

"To be honest, I have owned an Autoland Scientech WT for a year now," said Jaime Santaneza of RJT Automotive, the winner of the Autoland Scientect DOL Deluxe. "I'll just have to get use to using an online scan tool, it's totally new stuff. I'm excited."

Several tools with list prices over $1,000 were also given away. This includes a Fronius battery maintainer presented by Autologic, a Tech 400 TPMS tool from Bartec, smoke machines from Smoke Wizard and a Neutronics AC identifier.

Other big-ticket items given away were a hot plastic stapler from EZ Red, an Impactor lithium-ion impact wrench and a battery tester from Bosch, several made-in-America load testers from Associated Equipment, amp clamps from Midtronics and Precision Diagnostics, the Mini-Ductor from Induction Innovations, over six dozen flashlights from U-View, cabinets full of ignition coils from Wells Ignition, U-Activate relay testing equipment from AESWave, a BG fuel injector cleaning kit, intake cleaning kits from Run Rite, a subscription to the Motologic information system and ATEC battery service equipment.

Just in case an attendee won a lot of tools only to have them stolen later, Pro-Tec tool insurance gave away one $50,000 insurance policy to a lucky winner.

Several other miscellaneous prizes were given away such as hats from Delphi, educational books, a coffee maker and magic 8 ball. 

"All things told, we gave away over $20,000 in tools and prizes," said G "Jerry" Truglia, president and founder of TST. "We do this because we literally provide training to our membership at cost, so they can stay up to date with changing automotive technologies. We couldn't do this without the support of our membership and our sponsors."

The raffle itself raised an undisclosed amount of money for future training to be provided by TST, but it was said to be in the "thousands." 

"We're not necessarily looking to make in tickets the amount of money the tools are worth," said Truglia. "It's a way of giving back to the technician community, give the companies some exposure and have some fun."