David Kar, 2018 Graduate; Michael Meagher, 2019 Graduate & Michael Borges, 2019 Graduate
“BTS opened in 1939 as a one bay garage that serviced recaps and new tires. In 1989 we added a second location in Pawtucket, and changed our name to BTS Tire & Service. BTS is a full-service facility; we provide repair and maintenance for most makes and models of vehicles. As an independent shop, we’re able to work closely with new Technicians to help them continue learning and developing their skills on the job. We want to help Technicians advance quickly—especially as they demonstrate a good work ethic and the ability to complete repairs with minimal supervision. By promoting our Techs, customers receive better service, and the Techs make a better living.”
—Richard Carlone, Owner
Before coming to MTTI, Michael Borges had always been a cook.
“I love cooking for friends and family. As a career though, it is high stress, and the work conditions are not always the best. When I lost passion for cooking as a profession, I considered returning to college to finish a criminal justice degree. My mother found MTTI online and asked me, ‘What about a technical degree?’ I had no experience working on cars in a professional setting—but I love cars and enjoy working with my hands.”
Michael Meagher wanted a change from working as a cashier in a corner market.
“I’m not a big ‘people-person’, and was looking for a less customer facing career. My uncle told me about MTTI; he had graduated from the school’s Auto Tech evening program. I knew very little about cars, so I expected that the program would be difficult for me. Fortunately, the Instructors explained things well, which made learning easier.”
David Kar came to MTTI with experience working in the automotive industry.
“When I was a little boy, living in my home country of Liberia, my dream was to be an Auto Mechanic. I played with a toy car and asked my daddy about the car he owned. I wanted to know how it worked—how it moved.”
David studied auto mechanics in the 10th grade until he graduated.
“Growing up, 14 years of civil war in my country prevented me from going to school. When I was able to attend a vocational school in my mid-twenties, it was not easy to make up for the time I had lost. After graduating high school, I began working as an Auto Mechanic, performing general maintenance on brakes and doing oil changes. We are not advanced in automotive technology in Libera. We’re just beginning to regulate pollution from cars, so I did not have the opportunity to work on emissions systems.”
When David came to the United States to visit family, he decided to live here.
“I experienced a better quality of life here than in my country. I began looking for a technical school where I could improve my automotive skills. The program at MTTI was shorter than at other schools; I could complete the program in 6-7 months. My uncle’s advice was, ‘David, you already have the skills—you don’t need to go to school for 3 years.’ He accompanied me to an Open House. All of the people at MTTI were friendly. They asked me questions, and hearing my responses told me, 'You are in the right industry.’ They knew that the Auto Service Technician program would be a good fit for me.”
Michael Borges also looked at other local schools before enrolling in MTTI’s Auto Tech program.
“MTTI was the school with the most hands-on—and where people brought cars in for real repairs. When I toured MTTI I was impressed with the instructor and the facility. Everything they had in the shop was very enticing. It was tough going to school full-time Monday through Friday, while working nights and on week-ends. Even so, I never had a problem coming to school, and maintained great attendance.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the auto tech program from start to finish”, says Michael B.
The Instructors, Rich, Glen and the Skills Instructor, Arturo kept things lively in the classroom and the shop. They were easy to talk with and relate to. I can’t count the number of times that Rich, Glen and Arturo helped me make repairs on my own car.”
Michael Meagher laughs, “I had to get used to working with my hands.”
“I remember that my fingers hurt all the time while I was in school. The program provided a nice transition into the automotive industry. I liked learning where all of the auto parts go and what they do. Like a Lego® set—all of the pieces have to be working together, otherwise the structure is incomplete and won’t function well.”
“The days at MTTI went by fast," says Michael M.
“Everyone in my class helped one another. We were all on the same page about learning. The small class size made it easy for Arturo and Rich to work with us one-on-one. I still have all of my notebooks from class that I continue to use as a reference.”
David excelled in shop skills and was happy to help his less experienced classmates.
“My instructor, Glen, recognized from the first time we talked, that I knew something about cars. He appreciated my participation in class. I learned about technology that we didn’t have in my country: how to use scan tools, diagnose problems and work on emissions systems. I was happy to be in school, learning new things. Every year, new cars will come out, and I will enjoy continuing to learn new technology.”
David adds, “I appreciate that at MTTI, you don’t waste time.”
“The school teaches you directly what you want to know. People without any automotive experience can come from school and go to work in the industry right away.”
All three graduates appreciate the help they received from Career Services.
Ongoing assistance to write their resumes and practice for interviews helped them navigate the job search process. They agreed that Erin, the Career Services Specialist, was always willing to help—calling and emailing them about job opportunities, and supporting their job search efforts.
Erin also recruited employers to attend the Program Advisory Committee meetings.
Employers and industry specialists meet twice a year to review each program; they help MTTI keep the training current with changing technology and evolving hiring needs. Michael B recalls that, “During the part of the program when I was applying for jobs, my Instructor, Rich, attended the Auto Tech PAC meeting. One of the PAC members, Richard Carlone, was hiring Techs for BTS. My instructor had always heard good things from past MTTI students who interned at, and were hired by, the company. I applied to the Providence store and was directed to the Pawtucket store for internship.”
Starting his first job in the industry, Michael B was nervous about whether he was ready.
“There is so much more to learn. Once I started working, I very quickly realized I had a good foundation and skill set to help me continue learning on the job. I was surprised that, on the first week at work, I was given bigger jobs than I had expected. Thinking I would probably be doing oil changes and tires for a while, the first week, I was excited to be asked to work on brakes. Next I worked on a whole rear end of a Prius.”
Michael M said, “When I interned at BTS, I juggled my life.”
“I was working at a full-time job while interning five days a week. Now working at BTS, the workday goes by fast, because we always have something to do. I’m able to go to David, who has more experience than I do, when I have a question. I’ve learned it is better to get help when you aren’t sure how to do something, than to mess it up.”
David first learned about BTS when Richard visited the school.
“Glen told me it is a good place—always busy. He knew I was a good worker, and that at BTS, they would value my skills and how reliable I am. I continue to take pride in being at work, on-time, every day. I always say ‘yes’ when asked to do something.”
David says, “Everyone at BTS is good to work with.”
“They treat me like a family member—always nice and sharing laughter with me. BTS is not just about tires—we work on engines, brakes—almost everything. The customers are always happy with the way we treat them and with the good work we do.”
“I highly recommend MTTI to anyone interested in earning a technical degree,” says Michael B.
“Not just for Auto Tech—MTTI is a good choice for all of the programs the school offers. I’ve attended a college and it was very different—I didn’t always have even one teacher who cared. It is rare when you have every staff member, and all of your instructors, pushing for you to succeed.”
Spotlight: David Kar (2018); Michael Meagher (2019); Michael Borges (2019)
Top (left): Michael Borges (2019) with Instructors, Rich and Arturo. Middle (right): Michael Meagher (2019) with Instructors, Rich and Arturo.
Bottom (left): David Kar (2018) with Instructors, Glen and and Arturo. David received the Award for Best Shop Skills
& the Silver Wrench Award for Academic Achievement, Excellence in Shop Skills & Attendance.
Bottom Center: Three MTTI Graduates at BTS Tire & Service in Pawtucket, RI.