Forging your own path and moving into a new career, let alone a new industry, can be intimidating. Turning towards something new and finding success makes the shift worthwhile. CJ Floyd, now a Diagnostic Technician in Landover, MD, learned this firsthand when he decided to make a fresh start in a new industry.
Having worked for his dad’s landscaping business since he was a teenager, CJ was interested in finding and forging his own career path. His uncle, Paul Balsley, a Johnson Truck Center employee of 28 years, mentioned that his company has a Technician Apprentice Program – a program that does not require prior diesel experience in order to participate. CJ had done some small at-home projects but that was the extent of his “fix it” knowledge. He saw the benefits of the program and applied online.
“It sounded too good to pass up. I’ve always liked learning new things and it seemed like a great opportunity to start a new career and gain a new set of skills that can translate into my personal life too,” explains CJ.
CJ interviewed with Justin Staudenmaier, Foreman in Landover, and Dennis Huber, Project Manager and Trainer for Indel Power Group. They gave CJ a tour of the shop and explained the program in more detail. He was hired shortly after, working under Jacob Wise, the Assistant Service Manager and CJ’s mentor in the program.
“He started out at ground zero, so there was a lot to teach him up front. He needed to start with the basics, pulling a truck into the shop and identifying common parts, before he could even begin servicing any trucks,” Jacob explains. “CJ has a lot of interest in the field, a strong work ethic, and a great attitude. He’s continuously improving and challenging himself with harder jobs.”
The mentor portion of the program is essential in creating strong working relationships between management and technicians. It establishes a go-to person for the apprentice and allows the mentor to pass on tricks of the trade. “It’s been great getting to work with Jacob. He always knows how to explain things, so you fully understand each step of a job. It’s nice to know he won’t leave me hanging,” says CJ.
After over a year in the program, CJ is now one of three triage technicians diagnosing repairs. He has completed various online training courses that helped grow his knowledge and boost his confidence in the process. A typical day for CJ begins by reporting to the shop foreman and getting his first job of the day. CJ explains that “no matter what you’re working on, you need to stay on your toes and work efficiently to finish tasks on time. By diagnosing repairs, I’ve seen a bit of everything we work on. Every piece of equipment that comes in is a new opportunity for me to learn.”
The Technician Apprentice Program has made a big impact on not only the individuals in the program, but also the service departments in which they work. “CJ and all other young technicians are our future here at Johnson Truck Center and in the industry,” says Jacob. “Taking the time to train people into the technicians we need is an investment that’s sure to pay off in the long run as they grow in their career.”