As Komar and Long interviewed Faulkner’s master techs and service department managers on ways to improve the mentor program, they discovered some older techs had unfulfilled career needs. Says Komar: “We’re talking about guys who are a little older coming to you and saying, ‘What’s my next step?’ You never want to tell someone who’s been loyal to you for all those years, ‘Sorry, I have nothing for you, you’re out.’ How do you leverage that knowledge, for them and for the business?”
Mentoring appealed to Wenger: “I always enjoy seeing other people learn new things, grasp ideas and grow. I find it rewarding.”
Keegan Martin, 20, who graduated from Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology in Lancaster this spring, is training with Wenger. Martin, who worked at the Chevy store as a porter before he finished school, learned about the program during his job interview.
“For the first day or two it was nerve-wracking. It’s a close-knit group of guys. But everyone was friendly and open to me,” Martin said. “I have told people I have learned more from Derrick than I may have at school.”
Komar says the five trainees in the stores he oversees who have completed the program are now full-time techs excelling in their jobs.
The mentor program is part of Faulkner’s effort to permanently solve its tech shortage.
The company has committed $1 million to a local high school’s technician training program whose first graduates will arrive in about three years.