Our Members

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Brian Culotta

 I started my journey in the field, like most technicians in the industry, very early and following in the footsteps of my parents. Growing up, I was a shadow to my father. Everywhere dad went, I had to go. Later, in my teenage years, I spent a lot of time working at my mothers radiator repair shop. I learned a lot in these years which helped fertilize the seed previously planted by my father.
 I began my formal education at Auburn career center during my junior and senior year of high-school. During my Senior year, I signed up for the Ford/AAA Auto-skills competition. I finished 1st in my class and moved on the State finals at the Hand-on skills competition where I finished 3rd in the state where I earned a scholarship to attend Universal Technical Institute in Chicago, IL. I moved that next summer from Cleveland to Chicago.   
 After graduating from UTI, I started off working for an independent car dealership in the suburbs of Chicago as a lead technician for 7 years. I then move to a new job to an Independent repair shop in NW Illinois where I stayed for 3 years.
 After staying in the Chicago area for almost 12 years, getting married, and having 2 kids, I FINALLY  decided its time to move back home to Cleveland. I'm now happily employed at Dave's Autocare in Willoughby, Ohio. As the Shop foreman/ ASE Master L1, L3 technician.

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Mike Robinson

I started my career back in a high school Automotive Program in 1996 and obtained my first State Certification in 1997. I also started working 1/2 days in the afternoon for high school credit in a shop as work experience. This first shop taught me the heavy side of the industry and rebuilding engines and transmissions and doing restorations on hotrods. I stayed for several years as full time but was eager to learn more. 


I moved on to the next shop that opened up my eyes to diagnostics and voltage drop testing. Around this time 9/11 happened so soon after I was laid off but with a thirst to learn more. I went and worked and ran another shop and started to start searching for anything I could find on the internet. Then I stepped away to become a welder for several years. Then that dried up and I really pushed myself and started using my first labscope and seeing how stuff really worked. My first labscope was a snapon unit the shop had never used before. Then I found aftermarket training and John Thortons class changed everything. I continue to attend training and strive to be better and more efficient everyday in diagnostics. 2015 was a great year as I went to the largest training event I ever attended and that was AutoMechanika. Then 2017 was another great year as I met some of my favorite people I have ever had the opportunity to meet and alot of them are in Trained by Techs. I honestly can say I feel blessed knowing all these guys and you should all pay attention to them as they are doing great things. Im a 21 year veteran of this and hope to move on to strictly diagnostics and Programming 

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Chris Martino

I started sweeping floors at my local shop right out of high school. I watched the techs like a hawk. I jumped in whenever possible. I’ve had a passion about this business from the beginning. I bought my first repair shop when I was 23. Admittedly, I was in way over my head. I had to teach myself everything. I also admit I was a parts changer. I didn’t know any better. After closing down my shop and going back to working for people, I became uncomfortable with part swapping and guesstimating. I picked up a lab scope and read everything I could about voltage and automotive electronics. I retrained myself from the ground up and haven’t looked back. It has become my passion to help other get better and push this industry forward. 

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Keith DeFazio

Keith is the owner of New Level Auto,  working in the automotive industry for 17 years . Started as a mechanic. All basic repair and maintenance. After 2 years in , I was on a paintball trip with a friend and vehicle broke down on the way home. Had it towed to a local shop over 100 miles from home. The owner came out with a scope, test light and scan tool. Within 5 minutes we had a definitive failure of a fuel pump due to a voltage drop ! I had never seen the scope used before , and I was instantly enamored. I needed to learn how he did it . Many many nights of research, and after the purchase of the old trusty Vantage, I was on my way to completely stopping all mechanical repairs and moving into a revitalized career of diagnostics. 

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Keith Perkins

 Keith Perkins has been in the industry over 13 years, serving in various capacities, including; machine shop experience as a cylinder head machinist, cylinder block machinist, and lead engine assembler, full service technician at multiple independent shops, contract trainer for shops and parts suppliers, he supported over 200 shops as a Nissan/Infiniti technical information specialist, and many more roles through the years. Keith currently operates a training, mobile diagnostic, module programming, and immobilizer company in his local area (L1 Automotive Diagnostics and Programming).   Keith currently holds ASE certifications A1-A9, L1, X1, P2 and various other industry certifications, Keith also serves as a Subject Matter Expert for the ASE A1 test. Keith has received many accolades throughout his career in and out of the automotive industry, but he is most proud of his "Value of Life Award" he received for successful life saving efforts on a civilian while in the line of duty during his hiatus from the automotive industry with the Colorado Department of Corrections. 

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Brin Kline

 I remember sitting with school mates before school one day and hearing a loud squealing sound as a car drove past. A friend explained how a slipping fan belt was the cause of this noise. I was impressed with the idea that he could tell what was wrong with the vehicle based off the sound that the car was making. 

Fast forward a couple of years to me getting expelled from school and needing somewhere to spend my newfound free time. My father asked his shop owner friend if I could lend a hand around the shop. My father was trying to make the best out of a bad situation and it worked. I started there on the fall of 1994. I've now been in the Automotive Service Industry for 24 years and every year gets better.  

I'm passionate about raising the level of professionalism in the industry, by sharing my passion for this industry, encouraging shop owners and managers to shift away from business models and traditions that limit our ability to attract and retain the best talent,  encourage this talent to consider this a career and not just a job by networking and attending training with career minded professionals, getting involved with and helping organizations, associations,  networks and committees that have our best interest in mind with campaigns designed to educate the individuals earning a living in the automotive repair industry, educating the motoring public and  making sure that our service providers are doing the right thing for us. 

I've not always been thankful for this industry but I am now that I know so many great people that share my same frustrations but also share my same desire to work toward a better future. 

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Tomi Oliva

 I started working on cars at my dads shop when i was 12 years old and he hired a mechanic to do some basic work. I immediately fell in love with it. I ended up going to Lane Technical High School in Chicago, IL and took the automotive training course and that's when I decided i wanted to do this for a living. I decided on attending UTI upon graduation.. I graduated UTI and went to work for a Nissan dealership in Orlando, FL. I also realized it wasn't for me and soon returned to work for my dad and decided to run the family shop. Fast forward i found my self becoming stuck regularly on problem vehicles while i did enjoy repairing them it would take me a long time due to lack of training and tooling. I decided to look for training and stumbled on to John Thorton. My life was forever changed and my hunger for becoming the best diag tech i could possibly be. i  am humbled and blessed to be apart of trained by techs. Everyone in this group strives to better ourselves and the industry as a whole. 

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Richard Falco Jr.

Richard is an ASE Master L1 Technician with over 25 years in the auto repair industry. His technical experience includes Domestic, Asian, and European vehicles both at the dealership level, and as a successful shop owner. He has been an automotive instructor for technicians and college students in all aspects of auto repair and currently is teaching for CarQuest CTI. 

Our Guest Contributors

Matt Shanahan

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Matt Shanahan is currently an Associate Professor of Automotive Service Technology at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL teaching electrical, engine performance, and management. Matt has a MBA in Management and Internet/Social Media Marketing from Saint Xavier University, a BS in Automotive Technology from Southern Illinois University, and an AAS in Automotive Service Technology from College of DuPage. Matt is currently pursuing his Doctorate in Interdisciplinary Leadership at Creighton University.

Matt currently holds 28 ASE certifications including Master Automobile Technician, Master Medium/Heavy Truck Technician, and advanced certifications L1, L2, L3. In addition to teaching Matt helps area shops with problem vehicles to keep current with technology and collect case studies. While in industry Matt specialized in driveability and electrical diagnosis of light, medium, and heavy vehicles. In his free time Matt enjoys researching new vehicle technologies, attending training, and fixing problem vehicles.

Brandon Steckler

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 Brandon began his career in Northampton County Community College in Bethlehem, PA. There, he was a student of GM’s Automotive Service Educational program. In 2001, he graduated top of his class and earned the GM Leadership award for his efforts.

He later began working as a technician at a Saturn dealership in Reading, PA where he quickly attained Master Technician status. He later transitioned to working with Honda vehicles where he aggressively worked to obtain another Master Technician status.

Always having a passion for a full-understanding of system/component functionality, he rapidly earned a reputation for deciphering strange failures at an efficient pace and became known as an information specialist among the staff and peers at the dealership. In search of new challenges, he once again transitioned away from the dealership and to the independent-world, where he specializes in diagnostics and drivability.

Today, he is a working technician at a large facility near the NE side of Philadelphia, PA. Along with beta testing for Automotive Test Solutions, he writes for MotorAGE Magazine, teaches for CARQUEST Technical Institute as well as WORLDPAC, INC. and develops curriculum/submits case studies for other training companies. Brandon contributes weekly to Facebook Automotive Chat groups and truly enjoys helping others to obtain a level of understanding that will serve them well throughout their careers.


Pedro De La Torre

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Pedro has over a decade of experience in the automotive technical field. After his graduation from UTI,

he was employed by independent repair facilities and specialized in electronics, emissions and driveability

issues. In 2014, Pedro began working with the Indiana emissions program “Clean Air Car Check.” While

working in the Quality Assurance department, Pedro was the in-house diagnostic technician and repair

adviser. He was also responsible for training hotline operators and he organized Clean Air Icert training.

Icert training is the 60-hour program required to become an Indiana Certified Technician. In 2018,

Pedro started a mobile diagnostics company “Logic Automotive” providing diagnostic and

reprogramming services to NWI and remains a consultant for Indiana’s Clean Air Car Check.

Pedro is currently an ASE certified Master Automotive Technician and is L1 certified.