By Brandi Makuski
“Well, the compressor locked up and melted the belt right off,” said Bill Boyer, from under the hood of a Ford Ranger on Nov. 23. “We got a new compressor on there now, but there’s another pulley making noise…”
Boyer, 49, is an ASE Master Technician at Check’s Muffler Center, a designation he’s held for about 15 years. But this week it’s a different accolade he’s celebrating: recognition of continuous ASE certification for the past 25 years.
ASE — Automotive Service Excellence — requires a minimum of two years’ work in the automotive field followed by stringent testing designed to ensure the quality of vehicle repair and service. The tests range in cost from $37 to $74 a piece, and Boyer has taken them all, which is how he reached the “Master” designation.
“Brakes, heating, ventilation, cooling, engine repair, drive train repair, transmissions –you name it,” he said. “It’s not required to be a mechanic, and you’re not required to re-certify, but there’s all these different sections and I took all of them, and passed all of them.”
And the test isn’t easy. According to the ASE website, only about 75 percent of test-takers pass on the first try.
Boyer has been re-certifying his skills voluntarily since 1991.
At the prodding of a family member, Boyer started at Check’s in 1989, shortly after graduating from Wyoming Tech in Laramie, Wyo. He started out “washing squad cars”, as he puts it, and worked his way to mechanic from there.
“Every Saturday was the day we washed the [police] squad cars, cleaning them with a vacuum and checking them over,” Boyer said. “It kind of snowballed from there.”
Boyer, a 1985 SPASH graduate, says he “loves the variety” of his work, adding, “there are more fun days than bad.”
“I guess Chevy trucks are my favorite,” he said. “You’ve got to learn every vehicle, but I’m very fluent in Chevy trucks.”
Boyer was awarded a special magnetic plaque — designed to attach to a toolbox — to commemorate his achievement of 25 years, and plans to continue re-certifying his ASE credentials every two years.
“Since the first day I started I’ve been learning new things everyday, and I still do,” he said. “To keep re-certifying looks good. It shows that I care about what I do, and that’s important to me.”
Check’s Muffler Center is located at 2401 Main Street.