From learning in the classroom to teaching in one, one of the top training specialists received recognition for his lessons to better today’s technicians.
This fall, Lloyd Koppes of Cincinnati, was named the Motor Age Training/ASE Master L1 Training Specialist of the Year. He is a service training specialist for Toyota Motor Sales USA, and has been with the company for 15 years. He previously spent 22 years as a technician.
Koppes, a 1977 graduate of Lincoln Technical Institute, always has had a passion for teaching. “As technician, shop foreman and team leader at various dealerships, I found the most satisfaction came from mentoring entry level technicians that came my way,” he recalls. “They learned to bring the repair manual and wiring diagram with them when asking for help.”
When the trainer had the chance to work for Toyota in 1999, he started as a field technical specialist. But he quickly adds that he immediately began to cross-train as an instructor. He was ready to step up to the teaching role when a position opened in 2001.
“I am one of the privileged few who get to do what they love and be paid for it,” he says.”
Koppes’ region covers Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, and he spends an average of 10 to 12 days per month teaching technicians. When he’s not in the field, he and his wife Jean spend as much time as they can on their 2008 Honda Goldwing (he learned to ride at age 50), or you can find him relaxing in the pool or “putzing in the ‘Man Cave’ garage.”
The lifestyle and love of teaching can be traced back through his career. He attended Lincoln Technical Institute after finding a love of the automotive industry, solving problems and working with his hands.
“I learned the foundations of how each system on a car worked. Up to that time I could remove and install parts but did not have a basic understanding of how things worked,” he says of his experience.
His family saw that first hand, as Koppes’ four now grown children – Stephen, Michelle, Jonathan and Christopher – grew up watching their father working at a dealership or on side jobs in the garage at home. “In our spare time, we would travel in our 1955 GMC bus conversion, a retired Greyhound. Today two of them are in education and two of them work in the oil and gas industry.”
Koppes has come a long way, thanks in part to his love of teaching, his experience at Lincoln Tech and his dedication to staying ASE certified (he is a Master L1 Technician). He adds that he never believed in the ’70s that he would be where he is now, but knows it is in part to his degree and subsequent certifications.
“In this business nothing is handed to you. But with hard work and consistency you can accomplish great things. (Anything you wish) Take the utmost pride in your work.
Learn to do it right every time. Forget about the money. It will always come,” he suggests to those in the industry. “You are limited only by the size of your dreams. Cars are a great equalizer: They don't care your color, sex, religion, economic status, or any other factor. If you don't do it right it will ‘come back’ on you. If you do it right, you will shine.”
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