Spotlight: Bob Greiner
“My favorite part is I get to help my students get up to where they can make a family-level income for themselves. Then they come back and introduce me to their kids, I get to go to the auto shops and see them working and they are proud of the work they do." - Bob Greiner, WVC Auto Technology Program Director
How did you started working here at WVC?
"Back in 2008, I’d been working at Leonard Evans as service manager for almost 10 years and one of the instructors here at the college decided to retire. He called me up and invited to teach an auto transmission class, and I said, “Sure, why not?” Well, I didn’t realize at the time, but that was my interview. That was in the fall of 2008 and they decided to give me a chance. They hired me up and I’ve been here ever since."
What is your favorite part about being an instructor?
"What I think is cool is that I’ve been involved in every step of a student’s automotive career that they can experience. From the tech center at the high school, to the college, to entry level technician, to journey man technician, to shop foreman, to shop manager and shop owner. Personally, I’ve experienced every step of a career in the auto industry, which is how I know how to guide my students in whatever direction they want to go. My favorite part is I get to help my students get up to where they can make a family level income for themselves. Then they come back and introduce me to their kids, I get to go to the auto shops and see them working and they are proud of the work they do. It’s just a cool legacy and is something that makes me very, very proud to say this is what I do."
How does the WVC Auto Tech program impact the Wenatchee Valley?
"People can slowly work their way up in the auto tech job market (without an education) but it is a very long paced trek to get to the top. But when you go through the Auto Tech college program, it is a much straighter path from the very beginning to where you want to be in your career. Your learning curve is way, way straighter. The auto tech students have often been placed in jobs before they graduate. … I have alumni working in every auto shop in town, at auto dealers and at the PUD. I have alumni working at Boeing, at Crunch Pak, and one alumni who graduated in 2011 is now teaching at the high school tech center. Those are my alumni. I am a very proud papa. They pay me to do this! They pay me to help people get jobs and feed their families. I have students from all kinds of backgrounds, different genders and different ages in the program. We have students anywhere from 16 years’ old who are part of the Running Start program to people in their 60’s but they all act like students of the same age when they come into the class. It’s kind of funny how that works."
How has the foundation impacted the auto tech program or one of your students?
"After I’d worked here for a while, I started getting involved in Wenatchee Valley College and how it works and why it works and started to focus on making it a better place for the students. The students are why we are here; they are who we are supporting. We are here to make them better citizens and better people. The foundation has been instrumental in helping us do that. The foundation has helped us get better equipment, trainers (cars donated for students to work on) and they continue to partner with donors who are motivated to help with those purchases.
…We as a community invest a little money up front by providing scholarships and funding for programs. The benefits that we gain are in a solid, skilled and knowledgeable work force who know how to keep up with the industry demands. This is just over the top. While we are investing in our students, we teach them skills and also how to be outstanding citizens. We teach them how to be professional, how to be punctual, how to act professional, what it means to be diverse and open minded thinkers. There’s a lot that we teach here at the college that doesn’t get taught at the homes or at high school. We hold the students of WVC to a higher standard and I think our alumni prove that fact, that we hold them to a higher standard."