Meet a young technician: Caden Baaske

March 1, 2024

Meet Caden Baaske, a 20-year old who is a long-time automotive hobbyist who is capitalizing on his passion to start a career as a professional automotive technician. Caden began his first full-time technician role as fleet foreman for Allied Garage Doors Inc. in Chicago in February.

Baaske received the Ford Auto Tech Scholarship from TechForce Foundation in 2023 after applying at techforce.org. We recently reconnected with him to hear how he’s doing today and discover what wisdom he’s gained in the past year.


Motor Age is partnering with TechForce Foundation to highlight young automotive technicians in the early days of their careers. Beginning in April Motor Age will begin accepting nominations for our 2024 Best Young Tech Award, which honors a technician under the age of 35 who is excelling and moving the industry forward.


Hi, Caden! How are you doing?

I’m doing well, thank you! I just started a new job with Allied Garage Doors, Inc. as fleet foreman. I am their main technician servicing the company’s fleet of 39 vehicles.

Congratulations on the new job! Tell us, what inspired you to pursue an automotive technician career?

Cars have always been a huge part of my life. Growing up, I was always around vehicles because we have a long line of mechanics on both sides of my family. My dad was a mechanic in the Air Force and after he got out he was a GM-certified mechanic. My grandfather is also a seasoned auto mechanic. Both my father and grandfather were racecar drivers, too.

When I was younger I wasn’t sure I wanted to work in the automotive industry. But, as I have gotten older, my love for this work has grown, and I am more passionate than ever to work in the industry now. My autobody teacher and my friends have also helped me to realize my passion for the automotive industry by sharing their passion for this work with me over the years.

From the family background to being a race car driver during the summer, I cannot get enough! I’m still learning, and I’m hungry to learn more.

You just started your first full-time job as a technician. What has been your career journey so far?

I am currently a full-time student at the College of DuPage and am working to put myself through school. I expect to graduate in May 2024 with an associate of applied science degree in automotive technology. I’m taking 15 credit hours a semester as well as working a full-time job and doing an independent study on my own time.

I worked at O’Reilly’s Auto Parts in roles of increasing responsibility and eventually became a key-holder. I left my job at O’Reilly’s in 2024 and recently started working as an automotive technician at Allied Garage Doors Inc, a Chicagoland garage door installation company.

Outside of that, I have worked as a fabricator for race car chassis during the summer at RCR motorsports. On the weekends, I’m a classic auto hobbyist and I do all of my own mechanical work on my classic cars.

A full-time student, a full-time technician, and you still find time to volunteer!?

I do! I think it’s important to give back. Occasionally I will volunteer with Community Unit School District 200 and fill in as a student teacher and/or work the before- and after-school program.

I also volunteer to help out at the Technology Center of DuPage as a supervisor in the high school auto department.

You’re still brand new to the industry. What challenges have you faced so far?

Really, one of the biggest challenges I have faced so far in my career is finding a shop that feels like a fit.

I interviewed with a few dealerships in my area. One was with a supervisor I could not see myself working for. He was not personable and gave the impression I was wasting his time. The interview lasted all of five minutes.

My interview with another dealership went well. It was a really good interview, but I never heard back from them. Eventually, I found my current role and the rest is history.

Before we go, what advice would you give to the younger you who is just starting their technician journey?

Definitely look into scholarships and apply for them. My teacher said it's something that gets overlooked most of the time. So I took the opportunity to apply… got it, and it helped me out a bunch. I was paying most of my school expenses out of pocket. My scholarship freed up funds which helped with my truck payment, and I was able to get extra tools for school as well as work, too.

Connecting with scholarship organizations will open up a lot of opportunities not only job wise. You can also network with people who can give you more information on the field, and just overall help your career in the future.

Profile provided by TechForce Foundation.

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