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Nassau BOCES automotive students meet with industry experts

students listen as auto experts talk about their industry  
A panel of seven automotive industry experts spoke to an attentive audience of Barry Tech students during Nassau BOCES’ “Automotive Destination Success” forum.


Seven prominent leaders in the Long Island automotive industry convened at Nassau BOCES Barry Tech recently to hold a panel discussion and answer student questions. Approximately 90 students from Barry Tech’s Automotive Technology, Automotive Skills and Automotive Collision programs attended “Automotive Destination Success,” an open forum where students learned from the experts.

The panel — including local shop and dealership owners, fleet managers, service and parts directors, and automotive technicians — spoke on a variety of topics, such as how to get a job in the industry, what they, as employers, are looking for on an interview and in an employee, and the importance of a first impression. Panelists offered valuable tips on proper workplace protocol, advising students to arrive on time, be respectful, take initiative, listen and ask questions, and to continue to grow and learn.

After the panel discussion, the floor was opened for an extensive Q&A session, during which students asked pertinent, insightful questions. Following the event, the experts met with the students to learn a little more about them individually. Presiding on the panel were: Michael Hopkins, Manager of Fleet Operations for Verizon; Mark Schlobohm, Parts and Service Director for Honda City; John Quinonez, Owner of Kidd Collision; Stephen Mercaldo from the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association; Matt Morrison, Service Director for Garden City Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, RAM; Lawrence Powell, Service and Parts Director for Rallye BMW; and Nicholas Toomey, Vice President of the Rallye Group.

“Barry Tech has a long-standing relationship with the automotive industry,” said Barry Tech Work Experience Teacher Coordinator Randi O’Moore. “Throughout the year, we work hand-in-hand with approximately sixty industry partners, who help us to train our students and enhance our automotive curriculum. Our students intern and work alongside master technicians on site at the businesses, and we regularly receive calls from shops and dealerships for recommendations for new hires because of our reputation in the industry.”