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Chris Jones is A Real-life Service Technician in the Magic Kingdom

"We’re in a time when trades are needed more than ever."

 

“I grew up about 45 minutes east of Lake Okeechobee,” Chris says, “You know, growing up in South Florida, Disney World is a part of your life, so when you finally figure out what you want to do with your career and what your goals for yourself are, it was a no-brainer to strive to work a part with Disney World.”

Chris Jones is a service technician for Mercury Marine, which is contracted with Disney World to service its fleet of boats. Chris works on the Disney World property fixing everything from pontoons to rentals to the boats used in the almost daily fireworks shows.

Before Mercury, Chris worked construction with his dad, doing projects together, many of which included mechanical work. “Anything that had a motor, we were working on” he says. When his dad retired, Chris decided to explore more formal mechanical training. He concluded that no other school could match the credentials of Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI).

Once Chris finished his research, visited and spoke with some MMI instructors, he knew it was the right choice for him. It’s the "best you can get in the industry,” he says, solidifying his decision to attend. He encourages students to consider what trade schools really offer, “It’s not just the technician side. There’s a lot more to the industry than just that,” he says. Whether parts, servicing writing, service management or sales — all of these avenues, in addition to the technical — they can all be pursued with MMI’s curriculum. He says his instructors were really great about asking questions to guide his direction and made sure he was realistic about his opportunities. “You don’t just walk into a dealership and say ‘I’m a technician, throw me on this Yamaha or Mercury.’ That doesn’t happen. You earn it. You work as a yard guy for a while until they figure out you can spin a wrench.” And that’s exactly what Chris did, and it paid off.

As he settled into his role with Mercury, Chris came to recognize the lack of great technicians in the marine industry. “We’re in a time when trades are needed more than ever,” he says, reflecting on the recent push for kids to go to college rather than trade school. With the high cost and time commitment of pursuing a four-year degree, trade school is an appealing option for some, plus technology is advancing so rapidly and there is a need for technicians to service that technology. ”You can go anywhere with a good work ethic, drive and some mechanical knowledge,” Chris notes.

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