Senior Master Technician: Brandon Riggins

 Brandon Riggins, Service Technician at the St. Helens Auto Center, just received an impressive certificate - The Ford Senior Master Technician. Only 260 people in the Western Region have been able to achieve this certification. "It's basically the highest level of achievement you can have as a technician," Riggins said. "You have to have been working in a dealership for at least five years to even qualify for it. And then you have to complete a lot of courses. It's a very long period of time before you can achieve that." 

The certificate means that Riggins has completed every training category possible through the Ford Training Curriculum. Riggins can now expertly repair a Ford car bumper to bumper, from transmission, to electrical, to engines, or anything else. Riggins is not only a senior master technician, something that a service technician can only accomplish after five years of being a master technician, but is also a tenured senior master technician, meaning that he has had the certification for 10 years. In order to keep the certificate, one has to keep going to classes and refreshing the certification. 

To get the certificate in the first place, one has to undergo a lot of training and classes. According to Riggins, it all equates to about 400 hours of training. There are 190 classes, both web-based and hands- on classes at Mount Hood Community College as well as four local training centers. Riggins is even going to a class in San Francisco next month. Because of his extensive training, Riggins has been able to serve as a mentor trainer to the new up and coming technicians at St. Helens Auto Center. "He's kind of the trainer, or the person the younger guys go to for advice and help," Service Manager Monte Eby said. 

Riggins's expertise has also been beneficial on the industry level. He served on the committee that certified Mount Hood Community College for students to get their certifications for their automotive repair course. He has also judged for several years at Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) competitions. What Riggins's new title means for the Columbia County community is faster and more accurate repairs, and better quality of work for people who rely on the auto center, particularly anyone who drives a Ford. "He's at a different skill level we don't normally have in a dealership," Eby said.

"I'll just say Ford Motor Company has tried hiring him away from the dealership to go work for them because of his diagnosis capability of finding problems. They have an engineer that goes around to different dealerships to help with problems that they can't figure out. They never had to go to help the dealership he was at, because he was always able to figure everything out."