Sean Gagnon: Professional Problem Solver

"Essentially, being a technician, you’re a professional problem solver."


Sean started on bicycles. He took apart and modified them around in order to add his unique style. From these beginnings his curiosity about all things mechanical grew. In high school, he took a job at Firestone doing routine maintenance like oil changes and rotating tires.

Sean Gagnon is a UTI graduate and now back at UTI as an instructor. He chose to attend UTI for his education because it offered him the best option in gaining technical knowledge. Sean also appreciated the professionalism they instilled in him.

Even 10 years into his career, Sean looks back at instructors he had when he was a student. “I wanted to be on the other side of that and put my stamp on the new generation of technicians.”

When Sean finished at UTI he didn’t have a concrete plan. His options were; he could continue working at Firestone or he could return to UTI to complete an MSAT program. He decided to go through the VOLVO Manufacturer Specific Advanced Training class. He feels that it really opened up opportunities for him as a technician.

Through connections he made at UTI and his own hard work, he eventually landed a job as an instructor. An employee friend of Sean’s raved about how wonderful it was to work there, and that sentiment paralleled what Sean remembered of the professors from his days as a student.

“I love the challenge of working on cars,” he says. “Essentially, being a technician, you’re a professional problem solver,” he adds.

Sean says students can sometimes put too much pressure on themselves. They ask questions like “Do we need to know all this when we graduate?” To answer that, he leans on his personal experience. What you do with your hands every day, you’ll retain. The things you don’t do as frequently may fall by the wayside.

Sean has many hobbies — snowboarding, brewing his own beer, playing the drums and traveling — but admits even outside of work he still loves working on cars.

He inherited a 1976 Camaro from his aunt who bought it brand new from a Chevy dealership in Illinois. He was only 13 at the time, so couldn’t even drive yet, but asked his mom every day if he could have it when he got his license at 16. And today he spends his free time working on it.

He loves old cars — the sound, the feel, what shifting gears feels like. He likes motorcycles, too. Anything with an engine and wheels. He admits that he’s not picky about whether it’s an import or domestic, or the make and model. “A nice car is a nice car,” he says. He pops the hood to show what he’s done to his Camaro. “The plan with this car was just to create something that was fun to drive. It doesn’t have to have the most horsepower.”

Sean has made his love of cars into his career. There’s not a moment in his day, whether instructing or tinkering under the hood in his free time, when he’s not doing exactly what he wants to do. Finding a career that doesn’t feel like a job, but instead, is a way of life, is something that we all can aspire to.


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