With 27 years of service at Victor Valley College and a long list of automotive certifications under his belt, instructor Dan Rowland recently received a national award recognizing him as an “Instructor of the Year.”
Rowland, who teaches a variety of automotive courses at VVC, was flown out to Charlotte, North Carolina, last week to receive the award from the National Institute for Automotive Service (ASE) and Gates Corporation.
To qualify, Rowland had to be a registered Gates “Tools for Schools” member and have taken at least one ASE test in the last 12 months.
“Rowland bested thousands of ASE technicians who competed for top honors within this category,” Gates Corporation officials said in a news release. “He’s always enjoyed working on cars, getting his start by working on his and his friends’ vehicles. Eventually this hobby turned into a career. Rowland enjoys the feeling of a job done right and having a satisfied customer express their appreciation.”
Rowland said he was shocked to win such a prestigious award and said the experience has been “very humbling.”
As a technician of 36 years, Rowland first served in the U.S. Navy from 1973 to 1980 as a missile technician. Since serving as an instructor at VVC, beginning in 1989, he has continued to collect certifications through ASE in various skills.
“I do it to show my students you don’t have to be an Einstein to understand what’s going on,” Rowland said. “You have to know the basics, but it isn’t rocket science ... I enjoy teaching and bringing the information to students that don’t know anything about cars, like those I get right out of high school.”
VVC Automotive Department Chair Lee Bennett said that the best way to describe Rowland is that he’s “very passionate” about replicating the working environment of the automotive industry for his students.
“He has really embraced the coach’s mentality of, ‘However you practice is how you’ll compete,’” Bennett said. “He teaches his students not just, ‘This is how you fix a car,’ but ‘This is how to be a good employee.’”
This article originally appeared on hesperiastar.com