Corey Smith explored being a mechanic directly after high school. He heard great things from friends that attended Universal Technical Institute and decided to give it a try. His studies included both automotive and diesel systems.
CJ: Corey, why did you become a mechanic?
Corey: I didn’t want to attend a real college. I liked working with my hands, troubleshooting electrical systems and centering on high performance.
CJ: Do you believe in continuing education?
Corey: I’ve received additional certifications from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). My certifications are for Brakes, Steering & Suspension, Engine Repair, Engine Performance, and HVAC. As for continuing education, all ASE certified mechanics have to be retested every five years to maintain their certification.
CJ: How did you get your first job as a mechanic?
Corey: My roommate was working at Hi-Tech at the time. I heard from him about the atmosphere, busy schedules and flexibility. When they decided to work over the weekend cleaning the bays, my roommate asked me to come in and help him soap the floors to get up all the oils and grease. By the end of the day, John asked me to come back on Monday as a mechanic. So I did. I’ve been here for six years.
CJ: You mentioned earlier that performance was a challenging and enjoyable focus.
Corey: I love performance modification work. It requires a lot of attention to detail and taking the knowledge of how the system works to the edge, optimizing it for a higher level of performance than a new car just off the lot. I’m always amazed at how attention to that detail will give a car greater performance than when it was first made.
CJ: So, does that make you a gear head?
Corey: It’s funny when a mechanic has a hard day and just wants to get away from working on other peoples cars, then he goes home and works on his own car. It’s relaxing to have a project car at home. I have a ’87 BMW track car. It’s now ready for drifting events and other races.
CJ: Have you raced in the past?
Corey: No, I’ve just done dirt biking, trail riding and for a change of pace snowboarding—when we’ve had snow.
CJ: Sounds like you’re a risk taker.
Corey: Not really. I never exceed my skill level and pretty much take things easy until I’ve got the hang of it. I stay on the fun side, not the daring side of sports.
CJ: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?
Corey: I want to take over the shop with Jim when John retires.