Jimmy Brigance knows the value of ASE certification, and it is one he works to pass on to his students.
And it is a value he is now being recognized for. Instructor and Master Technician Brigance, of Stigler, Okla., was named the 2018 Motor Age Training/ASE Master Automobile + L1 Technician of the Year. He received his award at the ASE banquet late last year. “I was really proud and impressed of all the people they were honoring, not just me. There are a lot of people in our industry who don’t understand how important as ASE certification is,” Brigance said. “We joke that you have to have a license to give someone a haircut, but not to fix someone’s car. Being certified is just the right thing to do.”
An Automotive Service Technology Instructor for more than 8 years with Kiamichi Technology Center in Stigler, Okla., former working technician Brigance continues to work on his education and set a positive example for his students.
Brigance because his career as a child, working in his father’s two-bay general repair shop in Oklahoma. “I helped him whenever I could, and in the summers. His shop is still open, but he pretty much sticks to tractors and lawn mowers now,” he said. Once he got older, Brigance began working at Williams Chevrolet Pontiac in 1995 when he was in college working on his automotive repair associates degree. “I started as a general tech and specialized in automotive transmissions until about 2010. In 2005, I started taking college courses for education because I decided it was time to transition to something else, something different,” he said.
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Currently 8 credit hours shy of his bachelor’s in Career and Technical Education at Oklahoma State University Stillwater campus, Brigance plans to stay in his position at Kiamichi once he is finished.
Amid teaching and going to school, Brigance also maintains his ASE Master Tech status. “The students talk about it and you can tell they really look up to you with that certification. Because ASE is voluntary, it lets customers know that you want to have experience and knowledge for them, and you are more likely to know what you are doing. The students appreciate that,” Brigance said. “I get questions weekly on how they can get certified, and it is something we do work on. I just had 6 students pass their student tests last week.”
In addition to striving for career excellence, Brigance has a strong foundation and focus at home as well. Married for more than 20 years, he and his wife stay active at her business — a local gym — and enjoy traveling and kayaking in their free time. “We travel as much as we can. Right now we go to Florida a lot and Delray Beach is one of our favorite spots. And at home, we visit Lake John Wells when we can. It is a small lake, but just the perfect size for kayaking,” he said.