Launched at AED’s 2017 Workforce Development Summit in New Orleans, The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Program provides professional industry certification after completion of an online technical assessment. The first of its kind for the equipment industry, the program measures the expertise of technicians and recognizes their ongoing improvement and competence with current technology. Technical tests by a third-party organization permit dealers to objectively gauge a technician’s knowledge and experience, which helps with hiring decisions and assures customers of their employees’ skills.
As far back as 2001, The AED Foundation had begun designing a program for equipment technicians. During those early days, Raymond Reyes, now a sales representative for Quinn Rental Services in California, was one of the original students. “When I started the program, they were trying to figure how to get a certified program for equipment technicians,” he recalls.
The son of a mechanic, Reyes worked on cars while in high school, where he took classes as part of the Regional Occupation Program, which is designed to provide academic studies along with hands-on training in entry-level skills. Classes use industry-standard equipment and are often provided as part of cooperative vocational education courses. “I enjoyed working with my hands and fixing and building things.”
After high school, Reyes started down the path toward an associate degree in the Mechanized Agriculture Program, while working part-time for Quinn. Personal issues required that he begin working full time, so he opted for the CAT program. CAT’s two-year ThinkBIG program uses the latest diagnostic tools and advanced technology to teach students how to service CAT equipment. Classroom work is supplemented by hands-on learning in the field to provide real-world application experience in problem-solving.
After completing that program, Reyes took an internship with Quinn, who rents a wide range of construction equipment throughout central and southern California from its 19 branches. As a certified CAT dealer, Quinn requires technicians to maintain their full inventory of late-model, low-hour heavy equipment.
Reyes worked as a technician for 13 years, climbing the ranks at Quinn as shop tech, field tech, shop supervisor and now outside sales rep. He says that, in outside sales, “actually knowing how things work gives me an advantage.”
A big part of that advantage was the additional training he received in The AED Foundation’s Certified Technician Program, which he believes has improved since he went through it because of self-study courses, webinars and other studies tools. “The more tools, the better,” he assesses.
Nevertheless, Reyes values his certification because it signifies that he can make a proper diagnosis and perform the necessary repairs to equipment. “Being able to go through the basics and set a good foundation takes a lot of the guesswork out of what you’re trying to do. It gives the employer confidence when you complete a program like this that you know what you’re doing.”
Having worked for Quinn for 19 years in various roles, Reyes says he enjoys what he’s doing as an outside sales representative and looks forward to the next milestone: four weeks’ vacation after reaching his 20-year anniversary with the company.