Auto Tech class proves itself to be top shop
Heath Daniel's students have quite a workload in front of them.
The class has a 1985 Chevy pickup, a 1947 Dodge business coupe and, as of this week, a 1992 Chevy pickup filling the garage where the automotive collision technology class meets.
Among the rusted frames and dislocated steering columns, located at the Eudora-De Soto Technical Education Center, another bit of metal has appeared in the past week ---- and it might make his students' lives easier.
It's a plaque issued by the 3M Corporation for the garage's work with 3M's materials and mastery of prescribed performance techniques.
While earning the 3M Top Shop plaque is common for professional garages, it's nearly unheard of for a technical school.
"I would say it's a pretty exclusive ranking to get that, and they're only one of two in the nation currently that have been certified as a 3M Top Shop," said 3M account representative Greg England, who presented the plaque.
The program teaches the students certain timesaving practices in order to maximize both profits and productivity.
Students from Eudora, De Soto, Mill Valley and Lawrence take part in Daniel's lessons. During the course of each semester, students learn the basics of sanding, painting and other aspects of auto body repair.
Old cars come into the garage and the students turn the hunks of junk into road worthy chariots, for the most part.
The process of saving the cars should become more productive as the class continues to learn techniques from 3M.
Those who go through the class should get an edge in real-world practice, Daniel said.
"Basically the students should be able to hit the shop running and produce," Daniels said. "It basically gives the guys a leg-up walking into the shop and being able to produce."
Daniel's students have been learning to produce in a garage environment since the first day of class.
"I like working on cars and working with my hands," said Robert Boyce of De Soto. "I learned a lot in this class."
One of the class's latest projects is a 1968 Plymouth Roadrunner.
Although it was known as one of the beefiest muscle cars of the era, the current specimen is a little more than a shell.
Eudora senior Bobby Kurtz said th 3M parts are some of the best in the field.
He said the techniques he's picking up are also useful.
"It's kind of something you can know and you can know the rest of your life," Kurtz said.
England said he's had a good working relationship with the technical school.
"I think it's certainly going to train them in being the most productive," England said. "What that's going to translate to them personally is that they're going to make more money."