While Jeff Wilson literally grew up in the collision repair industry, he never planned to stay in the field. Yet today, he loves his job and wouldn’t envision doing anything else besides teaching students how to make a comfortable living as collision repair professionals.
Wilson’s father was in the wrecking business and also had a body shop. So, the younger Wilson acquired his knowledge and skills firsthand. However, he planned to study engineering at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. And while he earned a B.S. degree in engineering technology, he also acquired a minor in education. In addition, Wilson holds four teaching certificates – manufacturing technology, collision and refinishing technology, cooperative learning and technology education.
Consequently, it was only natural that he quickly found a teaching position. Today, more than 25 years later, Wilson looks back proudly on his career and the many students he has taught and mentored.
“I’ve been at Kingwood Park High School in Houston for 12 years and started our collision repair program here,” says Wilson. “We actually serve students from four other district high schools as well. This year, we have 87 students registered for collision repair classes. I’ve also been an I-CAR®
instructor since 2011 and am certified to teach in several disciplines.”
Wilson finds I-CAR courses to be valuable to his students not only in providing knowledge and enabling them to enhance their skills, but making them more employable.
“I-CAR courses prepare my students to start a career in the industry as soon as they graduate,” says Wilson. “The training they gain enables them to get good jobs and go right to work directly from our program.”
Wilson also has utilized the Professional Development Program (PDP)™
Education Edition (PDP-EE) since its introduction.
“The curriculum works,” emphasizes Wilson. “It also aligns well with my course curriculum and is very user friendly for students. I think it is important for my students to have both the technical and cognitive skills in collision repair in order to be successful.”
Wilson works closely with local shops to place graduating students, and he also has many former students who are employed in related industries.
Approximately 98 percent of Wilson’s students have earned Platinum™ ProLevel® 1 status over the years. That is not unexpected since he and the program have such high demands, and achieving Platinum is the objective for each student.
For the past few years, Wilson and several of his collision repair program students have traveled to the annual SEMA Show in Las Vegas to keep up with the many technological changes occurring in the auto industry.
“The education options for students attending SEMA are also terrific,” he says. “It gives students a chance to talk with people in the industry and helps pass on information to them that they otherwise would not receive. Students also have a chance to network with people, learn more about specific companies and build relationships. Another benefit is the wide variety of classes they can take during SEMA.”
The bottom line, emphasizes Wilson, is that “SEMA classes and the overall experience reinforce to my students what I tell them and what they learn in school. Attending SEMA enables students to see the industry’s bigger picture. SEMA brings everything to life.”