TROY — Scott Chaney may not have taken home a national award, but he still feels like a winner.
Chaney, an auto technician for upward of 35 years — most of them at Trojan Auto Care in Troy — recently competed against technicians from across the country for the title of 2018 Technician of the Year, an annual honor promoted by Auto Value, Bumper to Bumper and Hahn Automotive.
Chaney, who didn’t win the top award, but made it to the final round in the Auto Value side of the competition, was nominated by his co-workers for the honor.
“They felt I should have my name in the hat to run for it,” said Chaney, who is married to Deborah, and has three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
To qualify as a finalist, professional technicians had to meet a stringent set of requirements, which included attending more than six hours of live training and participating in more than 10 supplier channel partner classes either in a live environment or online, all while maintaining current ASE certifications.
Only 13 technicians from a beginning total of approximately 3,500 candidates for the Technician of the Year honor made the finals, enjoying a trip to Phoenix, Arizona, in September, where they took one final test — a custom-tailored Automotive Service Excellence test — at the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving. They also were treated to a ceremony and dinner where the winners were announced.
Finalists had to know anything and everything about diagnostics and electrical, the Troy resident said. This wasn’t a problem for Chaney, who said he keeps his skills updated.
He also said after almost four decades of working in the car repair business, he still enjoys his chosen field.
“The challenges of the job keep it interesting because things are changing so fast,” said Chaney, who kept becoming a finalist in the competition a secret until several days before he flew to Phoenix so as not to make a big deal of it.
His work family and customers also play an important role in his life, according to Chaney.
”The biggest, important thing is making sure the customer is taken care of and it has always been that way since I’ve been in it,” said Chaney, who said he does a lot of online research when he has a “problem child” vehicle. “My customers are like family and so are my co-workers.”
He said his favorite part about the process was meeting other auto technicians from across the country. He said he learned a lot from those from other regions of the U.S.
“It was pretty nice to interconnect and discuss a lot of different things. A lot of the people from the West Coast didn’t understand how we work on cars here because of all the rust that we have,” Chaney said. “They don’t see that, their cars are like brand-new cars from the day they work on them. When someone meanders out that way from here, for the most part, they don’t want no part of it. It’s too much work.”
Vic Haddad, owner of Trojan Auto Care, said there isn’t a more deserving guy out there than Chaney.
“Scott is great guy and probably the hardest working man I know. His personal discipline and dedication to his customers and his trade are second to none,” Haddad said. “Scott’s relentless pursuit of excellence makes him the leader in our shop. He is constantly striving to stay ahead of the curve in technology, tools and training.
“Scott is very deserving of his selection as a finalist for Technician of the Year. Trojan Auto Care is very blessed to have him on our team.”
Chaney, who said his family likes to travel to Amish country in Ohio, said the entire experience was humbling.
“It was was a great honor to have been in that group of people that were trying to win the award,” he said. “It was just quite an honor.”
For more information on the award, visit autovalue.com/technician-of-the-year.