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The Diesel Student Becomes the Marine Instructor: Steve Mercado’s Story


The story of Steve Mercado, a seasoned professional in the marine industry, is one that starts back in the desert from his time attending Universal Technical Institute in Avondale, AZ. "I originally am a graduate from UTI; from the diesel program in Phoenix. I went right into the marine industry.”1 His journey from student to teacher is one that's filled with passion and dedication.

You’re probably wondering how a man from the scorching Sonoran sun found an interest in the marine industry. According to Steve, it was the flexibility that drew him in. “I love the versatility of the marine industry.” He continues, “I immediately went into the high-end yachting industry. I worked on large diesel engines and my career in the field lasted 39 years.”6 His nearly four-decade-long career has been filled with passion and persistence.

His admiration for his own teachers has played a significant role in his desire to become a marine instructor at Marine Mechanics Institute, a division of UTI. “I still remember the instructors that I had when I was at UTI. The lessons they taught me when I was 19 years old carried me throughout my entire career so I wanted to give back,” he explains.

The bond he shares with his students is also worth mentioning. He says, “I have a personal relationship with my students. By their third rotation in the curriculum they are coming back into class, even though they’re not in my class, telling me how it’s all starting to come together.”

The curriculum of the Marine Technician Specialist program is designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the trade.

“We take them from the ground up from basic tool identification and usage right on up to precision measuring tools,” he shares. It doesn't end there—they also delve into the nitty-gritty of the engines. “We go through two-cycle and four-cycle engines. They do full disassembly, measuring, evaluations, reassembly, and complete the course,” says Steve.

There are many gratifying parts of his work as an instructor, but Steve can pinpoint one that ranks at the top. “For me, it’s the most rewarding part of the job – watching the students progress,” he shares with passion.

Steve's passion for the marine industry and his eagerness to pass down his years of experience to aspiring students prompted him to make a life change. “I moved across the country to be an instructor here and it’s because the school has its students’ education at the forefront. The instructor staff here is by far the best I’ve ever seen,” he expresses.

Steve Mercado's journey from student to mechanic to teacher is a testament to his love and dedication to the marine industry. It's an inspiration to all the ambitious marine technicians out there.

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