Alumnus Spotlight: Austin Nord

2019 Automotive Technician grad working as journeyman tech at Feldmann Imports

Austin Nord, 22, graduated in spring 2019 with an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) from the Automotive Technician program at Dakota County Technical College. Austin was already working as a technician at Feldmann Imports, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Bloomington, Minnesota, when he earned his degree.

“I started working at Feldmann Imports in 2018,” Austin said. “I heard about the job opportunity through the Automotive Technician program. Jeff Copeland, my instructor, recommended me to the dealership.”

Today, Austin is a full-time journeyman technician at Feldmann Imports. He is focused on continuing his training via courses specific to Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which are equipped with exceptionally sophisticated safety and performance features.

“My job at Feldmann allows me to deliver a wide variety of Mercedes services, including maintenance and diagnosis,” he said. “Every day is different.”

One way Austin learned more about the luxury automaker was by participating in a Brand Immersion Experience at the Mercedes-Benz manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama.

As a new hire, Austin went on a three-day trip to Alabama that included a visit to the Mercedes-Benz Visitor Center/Museum, a tour of the 6-million-square-foot plant and a number of training seminars.

Austin reported that he also got the chance to drive Mercedes-Benz vehicles at the Proving Grounds of Barber Motorsports Park, an almost 900-acre, multi-function racing facility near Birmingham. He learned about vehicle capabilities, including advanced safety features.

“I drove a C 63 on a skid pad coated with a quarter inch of water,” he recalled. “A Mercedes expert was in the passenger seat, and he had me drive as fast as I could to force the car to spin out, but the safety features made that impossible. He clicked off the features—and we immediately spun out.”

Other behind-the-wheel demonstrations included driving an E-Class sedan in a pedestrian-crossing test and handling a GLA 45 SUV and CLA 45 coupe on an autocross track.

“The idea behind Brand Immersion is showing technicians the meaning of ‘Driven to Delight’ when working with customers,” Austin said, “and that’s how I approach my work.”

“Austin was an exceptional student in our program. He demonstrated a high degree of professionalism, which means his attitude, attendance and effort were all of the highest caliber. I recognized early on that Austin took great pride in his work and was always willing to help others when asked. It is quite easy to see that Austin has a passion for automobiles, and I believe he is destined to become a top level Mercedes technician with Feldmann’s support.”

Jeff Copeland
Automotive Technician Faculty
Dakota County Technical College

Feldmann Imports gallery

More about Austin…

Austin is a graduate of Prior Lake High School, Class of 2015. His dad, Dan Nord, is also an automotive technician and DCTC alumnus; Dan graduated in 1986 from the very first GM ASEP class. Austin’s mom, Lisa, works for Minnesota Valley Electric. He has two sisters, Ani, 19, a DCTC student in the Welding Technology program, and Amara, 14, a middle schooler.

When he’s not working, Austin enjoys drag-racing at Brainerd International Raceway & Resort, snowmobiling, riding ATVs, working on classic cars and trapshooting. He resides in Prior Lake, Minnesota.

What is your favorite Mercedes-Benz vehicle?
Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR

Austin Nord Q & A

Austin Nord

Austin Nord

Why did you choose automotive technology as your career field?
I have always had a passion for vehicles and how they work. I grew up around cars with my father being a veteran technician. (Note: Austin’s dad, Dan Nord, is DCTC alumnus, having graduated in 1986 from the very first GM ASEP class.)

How did your education at DCTC help you enter the automotive field?
My education at DCTC helped me enter the field by teaching me the fundamental skills to study, diagnose and repair a wide variety of vehicles. The instructors supplied me with the opportunities that jump-started my career along with the tools I needed to do well on job interviews. This all helped me get my start with Feldmann Imports Mercedes-Benz.

What advice would you give students considering automotive technician as a career path?
It’s a very rewarding career being able to diagnose and fix vehicles. Each day is different from the last, and car technology grows greater by the week.

Three words that describe you as a professional technician:
ETHICAL. METICULOUS. THOROUGH.


One word that best describes your experience at DCTC:

ENCOURAGING

What was the most challenging aspect of the Automotive Technician program?
The most challenging part of the program was the Automotive Electrical semester. It can be difficult to diagnose what you cannot see, but my instructor, Jeff Copeland, helped explain the process and showed me the many ways you can run a test, which made learning and diagnosis much easier.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job at Feldmann Imports?
The most rewarding part of my career with Feldmann Imports is the atmosphere. Feldmann makes you feel like a part of a team, and there is always a plan or path for striving to better ourselves and grow. Everyone on the Feldmann team is friendly, helpful and “Driven to Delight” our customers.

What is one thing every automotive technician should know?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What person has influenced you the most in life?
My dad, Dan Nord, has influenced me most in life. He has been my greatest role model and teacher. He’s shared his love of cars and mechanics with me and inspired me to follow my own passion for auto mechanics. (Note: Dan Nord worked as a technician for Luther Jaguar for 23 years before going to work for a company that does custom upgrades on muscle cars.)

Automotive Technician Program Partnering with Mercedes-Benz

Automotive Technician students: Julio Alvarado (Mercedes-Benz of St. Paul), Jack Carlson (Feldmann Imports), Jason Lewandowski (Feldmann Imports)


College training initiative first in Midwest for automaker

Representatives from Mercedes-Benz USA and area Mercedes-Benz dealerships toured the labs of the Automotive Technician program at Dakota County Technical College Thursday, January 23, 2020. Along with other instructors in the program, Jeff Copeland welcomed the visitors to the college’s campus in Rosemount, Minnesota. The visit recognized a new training partnership between DCTC and Mercedes-Benz USA.

“We are very excited about our new partnership with Mercedes-Benz,” said Jeff, who provided an overview to the visitors on how Mercedes-Benz technician training has been integrated into his program’s curriculum. “We have been collaborating with Mercedes-Benz USA and Feldmann Imports for more than a year now to help develop and pilot this new training initiative. This educational partnership breaks the mold for how Mercedes-Benz has traditionally attracted and trained new technicians.”

Jeff added that Mercedes-Benz USA has been utilizing four training centers across the country to train technician candidates. The new model offers online curriculum to high school automotive programs with the idea to generate more interest in this career field in the younger population. Several colleges will be selected by Mercedes-Benz USA for educational partnerships nationally, and DCTC stands out as the first in the Midwest.

“Because of the complexity of Mercedes-Benz vehicles, we need high-functioning techs who can problem-solve at a very high level,” said Rick Engman, Feldmann Imports shop foreman and 1993 DCTC GM ASEP alumnus. “Our techs are working on $200,000 cars with fiber-optics and radar-based systems. They need math skills, including geometry, highly advanced computer skills and an attention to detail. The DCTC Automotive Technician program has been a great source for qualified technicians—we have two recent graduates, four past graduates and three current students working in our shop.”

READ MORE…

More about the Automotive Technician program…

As skilled professionals, automotive technicians accurately diagnose mechanical problems related to engine, transmission, fuel injection, suspension and electrical systems. Students learn to maintain and repair engine, chassis, drive train, front-wheel drive, fuel injection, and electrical and emission systems. Instruction involves classroom theory, demonstrations, computer applications and hands-on car repair.

The Vehicle Maintenance program is designed to introduce students to the automotive industry and provide opportunities to obtain the entry-level fundamental knowledge, skills, training and credentials needed for employment and advancement in transportation career pathways.

The curriculum follows the standards defined by the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) Education Foundation, which ensures all training meets the highest standards. Students who graduate from this program will be able to work for independent repair facilities and dealerships in maintenance and light repair.

Program awards and outcomes

LEARN MORE…

Automotive Service Technicians & Mechanics

Diagnose problems and repair cars and light trucks.

WAGE

Minnesota

Median: $19.65/hour
High: $24.49/hour

Seven-county Twin Cities metro

Median: $20.61/hour
High: $25.24/hour

OUTLOOK

This career is currently in very high demand. There will be a need for about 13,329 new Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics to meet market demand between 2016–2026. This includes the demand due to replacement (workers leaving the occupation or retiring) as well as growth.

Minnesota State CAREERwise Education

Austin Nord  12 Answers

  1. Favorite sport or physical activity: Trapshooting
  2. Place you would most like to visit: Hawaii
  3. The most exciting thing you’ve ever done: Snowmobiling in Wyoming
  4. Three things you would do if you won a $1 billion lottery: 1) Move 2) Purchase a house 3) Collect dream cars
  5. Favorite TV show you’re watching now: NCIS
  6. Best movie you’ve seen lately: The Accountant
  7. One thing you most want to accomplish in life: Family/retirement
  8. Your national bird if you were your own country: Roadrunner
  9. Dream occupation: Pit crew member for NHRA Top Fuel Team
  10. Person you would most like to meet: Walt Disney
  11. Skill you would most like to learn and master: TIG welding
  12. Most important issue or problem facing humankind: Pollution
Learn more about the Automotive Technician program at DCTC by contacting:

Jeffrey Copeland
Automotive Technology Faculty
651-423-8296

Scott Anderson
Automotive Technician Faculty
651-423-8313

Matt Boudinot
Automotive Technician Faculty
651-423-8623

Crist Siebenaler
AUTM Faculty
651-423-8455

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