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Ever wondered what being a member of a pit crew is like? UTI Instructor Matt Delaney knows firsthand.
As an instructor at the UTI Rancho Cucamonga campus, Matt passes his knowledge and expertise on to students every day. He also stays immersed in the industry by working as a member of a pit crew on weekends. He’s a true example of someone who has turned their passion into a rewarding career!
Keep reading to learn all about Matt, the courses he teaches at UTI and his weekend pit crew role.
While Matt didn’t come from a family of car enthusiasts, he knew he had a passion from a young age. He played with Hot Wheels and was always fascinated by race cars, which later sparked his interest in the industry. “The writing was on the wall for sure,” he says.
Matt’s career started at Pep Boys, and he later went to work at Firestone. During this time, he held a smog license, but neither of these locations performed smog inspections. He eventually moved to an independent shop, where he did smog inspections and repairs and started to become more of a diagnostic technician.
Matt also had a passion for motorsports. He had a mutual friend with a shop owner who needed some help crewing, so Matt volunteered to help him for a 24-hour endurance race. This is what kicked off his career in pit crewing.
After Matt volunteered for the race, the shop owner called him and asked him to help out with some other projects he was working on. Matt said yes, and before he knew it, he was working two full-time jobs: he was a smog tech in the morning and worked on race cars at night.
Matt then went on to work at a BMW and Porsche race shop, where he did a little bit of everything. In the meantime, he continued his pit crewing and immersed himself in all the industry had to offer.
Wherever Matt went in his career, he quickly became the one who would always train the new guy. This was especially the case when he worked at the race shop, where he would constantly have people coming to him with questions.
According to Matt, taking an instructor position at Universal Technical Institute was a natural progression. His leadership skills and ability to teach others made him a perfect fit to train aspiring technicians at UTI, where he has worked for a little over two years now.
Today, Matt teaches three courses:
Matt shares that his favorite part about teaching is, “When I see the students put together what they’ve learned.” This is especially the case when teaching his Power & Performance course. Students in this class have gone through most of the program, so they are able to connect everything they’ve learned in previous classes and see it work on the dyno with a full-scale car.
Seeing students have that “aha” moment is what makes teaching so rewarding for Matt. He also loves to hear when his students go on and are accepted into the Porsche Technology Apprenticeship Program (PTAP), which is a highly selective program. Porsche is one of Matt’s favorite manufacturers, so seeing his students go on to train with the brand makes him proud.
In addition to being an instructor, Matt is a member of a pit crew on weekends. This keeps his schedule very busy—but it’s his passion!
Matt first started crewing when he was working at a race shop. He would work in the shop Monday through Friday and take customers out to the track on Saturday and Sunday. His boss at the time had a child, so he started to take a step back from going to the track as often. This gave Matt the opportunity to become even more involved.
Matt wanted to continue with crewing, so he started helping out a few different shops on the weekends. He used the network he had built along the way and reached out to everyone he knew in the industry to see if they needed help, which allowed him to gain valuable experience.
Today, Matt continues to crew on weekends and spends his weekdays in the lab teaching students. According to him, every weekend looks different—sometimes he’s helping just one customer and other times, he’s helping with a shop and is in charge of 7 or 8 cars.
So what does being part of a pit crew entail? Matt shares that on a typical weekend, he’s responsible for the following:
When he’s working an endurance race, which is typically 3 to 24 hours long, Matt will help with over the wall crewing, fueling and doing tire changes during the race.
Throughout his career, Matt has seen the industry evolve. According to him, one of the biggest differences between the industry now and years past is that today, information is so readily available. This is especially the case with performance, as many things are possible that weren’t before due to technology and easy access to information. “Things you thought weren’t achievable at some point are now an overnight order away from a parts supplier,” Matt shares.
As the industry continues to advance, technicians who are trained on the latest technology will be needed to fulfill the growing demand. According to Matt, “Those who thrive in the industry are the ones who have knowledge.”
Now is an exciting time to train for a career in the industry. There will always be a need for technicians, which has the potential to open the door to a variety of opportunities for those who have trained at a school like UTI. “The knowledge you gain here definitely translates directly to the industry,” Matt says.
Between teaching and crewing on the weekends, Matt seems to do it all. For him, it’s all about passion. “I don’t ever feel like I’m working,” he says.
Matt’s advice to aspiring technicians is to go for it. “As you progress as a technician and hone your skills, this industry is a very interesting one. There are so many different facets—if you don’t find the right match right away, there is probably a perfect shot out there for you,” he says. “People who may previously have thought cars weren’t for them are now a great fit for cars, because they’re interested in new technology,” he continues.
Matt goes on to share that the willingness to listen is an important quality of a technician. A lot of people think they know it all—but the best technicians know there is always room to grow. “The ability to ask questions and actually listen to the answers helps set a technician apart,” he says.
Overall, Matt is an amazing example of someone whose career is fueled by passion. The impact he’s made and will continue to make in the industry is incredible, and we’re excited to see all he accomplishes in the future.
At Universal Technical Institute, students learn from passionate instructors who are committed to their success. To learn more about what a future at UTI could look like, visit our website and request information today.
What kind of advice would a NASCAR Technical Institute instructor give to himself back when he was in high school? Find out here.
Sean Gagnon has made some mistakes along the way. We all have. Now that he's an instructor at UTI Lisle, he has some advice for his younger self. And for the next generation of techs.
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It only takes a few minutes to learn about technician training opportunities.
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12) Based on data compiled from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections (2016-2026), www.bls.gov, viewed October 24, 2017. The projected number of annual job openings, by job classification is: Automotive Service Technicians and Mechanics, 75,900; Bus and Truck Mechanics and Diesel Engine Specialists, 28,300; Automotive Body and Related Repairers, 17,200. Job openings include openings due to growth and net replacements.
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