A Wealth of Experience TOYOTA’S COLLISION REPAIR & REFINISH (CR&R) trainers bring diverse career experiences and an exciting variety of skill sets to the classroom. Each instructor is unique, from their teaching philosophy to their technical backgrounds and industry experience. Yet, the instructors are all united by a love of cars, a passion for teaching and a strong commitment to the importance of Toyota CR&R training.
“Instructor-led Toyota training is extremely valuable because it’s product specific and teaches you to repair vehicles according to the manufacturer’s specifications,” says Eric Mendoza, Collision Repair & Refinish Training Administrator, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. “You just don’t get in-depth, hands-on, instructor-led training offered directly from the manufacturer that often. It’s a special educational opportunity that everyone should take advantage of.”
Mendoza is Toyota’s newest trainer at the Torrance, California, campus. He came up through Toyota’s Automotive Technology Trainee Program, which involves a series of six-month-long rotations through different specialty areas in Toyota’s Quality Center. Earlier in his career, Mendoza worked as a Toyota Master Diagnostic and Repair Technician and as an Automotive Service Technician at various manufacturer dealerships. Mendoza has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Automotive Field Service Operations from Weber State University and an Associate’s Degree in High Performance Automotive Technology, and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Instructional Design and Technology at California State University, Fullerton.
Mendoza’s teaching approach is to make sure that everyone in the classroom gets a concept before moving on to the next topic so that no one gets left behind. When asked what he likes most about being in the classroom, Mendoza says he enjoys the mentoring aspect. Training empowers students and helps them have more control over their future and further their careers.
Students attending class at Toyota’s training center in Jacksonville, Florida, will take CR&R courses with adjunct instructor Dan Hodges.
“I love sharing and interacting with the students because they remind me of myself when I was in the field,” says Hodges. “I enjoy sharing what I know with them and also learning from them. There isn’t a class I teach where I don’t learn something new.”
Hodges has had a long career in the collision repair industry. He’s worked in dealer-affiliated collision centers and independent collision centers, and has even owned his own shop. Hodges has worked as a collision repair technician in shops and also as a manager, so he understands different aspects of the business. He knows the challenges that managers face as well as the issues that technicians can run into.
“I am a technician at heart still,” Hodges explains. “I know that if you can’t have fun, you can’t learn. My approach is to help technicians be comfortable in my class so that they can get the most out of the training.”
Hodges says that in all his years in the collision repair industry, he sees CR&R training as providing something unique to students. It gives them the manufacturer’s recommendations on how to repair Toyota’s cars the right way. When they leave class, they know Toyota’s recommendations for how to conduct repairs, and they also know where to find important resources they need to work on Toyota vehicles.
Training Fast Facts
Toyota’s CR&R training is offered at three state-of-the-art campuses across the United States: Jacksonville, Florida; West Caldwell, New Jersey; and Torrance, California. Instructor-led training courses are hands-on learning experiences where students can practice the techniques they are learning about. Toyota also offers electronic courses to students with a secure personal identification number (SPIN) free of charge. To find out more about Toyota training and sign up for courses, visit www.crrtraining.com. Profiles of Toyota’s other instructors can be found in the Fall 2012 and Winter 2013 issues of Collision Pros magazine.