Instructor of the 2nd Quarter – Jason Cozzolino

Pic with CopyCongratulations to Mr. Jason Cozzolino, who was chosen to be our Instructor of the Second Quarter! Mr. Cozzolino is an Automotive Service Technology instructor and has been at AAI for 7 years. That’s nothing compared to how long he’s been in the automotive industry – almost 30 years.  He holds several of the Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications, and throughout his lengthy career in the automotive industry, he has worked for Chrysler, Jeep, and Volkswagen, as well as in engine performance shops. Mr. Cozzolino has done everything from light line service to heavy line service.

We had a chance to ask Mr. Cozzolino a few questions about his time in the industry.

Who do you look up to most in the automotive industry?

I look to people my age (46) still working as a tech for a living. This industry, like many others, wears people out.

What is your favorite kind of car to work on and why?

I like to work on domestic muscle cars especially the not so popular ones. These are the cars that I worked on with my dad and got me interested in this industry.

What was your first car?

My first car was a 1974 AMC Hornet hatchback. It was different, and ended up being very fast!

What made you want to work on cars?

I worked on them with my dad, he’s a motor head also. It’s all I ever wanted to do.

What is the weirdest thing you have found in a car that you were working on?

I had a customer complain about a rattle in the dash of his car. When I started to remove the upper dash panel I found part of somebody’s false teeth.

What tool in your tool box do you use the most?

I use my flashlight the most. Not the most glamorous tool, but how can you fix something you can’t see?

Of all the maintenance that cars need, which is the one that will keep the car healthiest the longest?

The basics will keep a car going for a pretty long time. Things like oil changes and filters.

What made you go into teaching?

Like I said this industry beats you up, I didn’t want to be turning wrenches at 60. I wanted to find something auto related that didn’t beat me up so bad. I was also fortunate enough to have 2 older techs take me under their wing when I was very green. Without them I would not have had the success I did. This is my way of honoring them.

What is the one thing that you want your students to know about you that they might not know?

I used to own and manage a women’s hair salon. Not that I feel they need to know this, but I bet none of them know.

Take the next step in your professional journey into the automotive industry. Learn more about the Automotive Service Technology program at Arizona Automotive Institute. Click here.

Have a question you’d like one of our instructors to answer? Ask it in the comments.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – Ancora Education

8 Essential Tools Used in Auto Body Repair

The world of auto body repair is full of tools and gadgets that can make your life a little easier. Whether you are starting the Automotive Service Technology program at Arizona Automotive Institute or you’re just a car enthusiast looking to make improvements on your old Chevy, you’re going to need some basic tools to get the job done.

Automotive Service Instructor, Herbert Leist, compiled a list of 8 tools that are essential to auto body repair and that we use in the body shop here at Arizona Automotive Institute:

  1. Porta Power– A Porta Power is essential for doing auto body and frame repair, as well as other jobs. It is commonly used for removing dents in vehicles by applying pushing, spreading, or pulling force. It gives you the extra muscle you need to get the job done.
  2. Paint Booth– A paint booth is a pressure controlled closed environment used to paint vehicles in a body shop. The booth has one or more ventilation systems and burners to heat the air blown. They assist in the removal of the over sprayed paint from the air. Protecting the surrounding environment is most likely the single most important function of the paint booth.
  3. Masking Tape– Masking tape is used to prep the vehicle before painting.
  4. Body Hammer and Dolly – The body hammer and dolly are used to fix the body of the car. The hammer itself does the heavy lifting and physical shaping of smoothing out the dents. While the dolly holds the shape and directs the metal where to go when being manipulated by the body hammer.
  5. Bondo– Bondo is a body filler used to fill in dents and imperfections. It is a material that uses a catalyst to harden. Bondo is a thermal-set plastic that cures with heat and becomes hard, usually within a few minutes.
  6. Slide hammer– A slide hammer is used to pull dents. It attaches to an object needing to be pulled and transmits an impact force to the object without striking the object itself. Slide hammers are typically used in automotive repair when an object needs to be struck from an inaccessible side.
  7. Polisher– A polisher is used to polish the vehicle after painting. No matter how expensive your paint is or how experienced the painter is, dust, runs, and texture happen. That’s where the polisher comes in and removes these imperfections leaving a mirror-like shine.
  8. Spray Gun– A spray gun is used to paint the vehicle after repairs. Like most tools these can vary in quality. Look for one that is lightweight and ergonomic, so as not to strain the hand of the user, and one that has a little overspray as possible. And for an even coat, look for one that atomizes the paint in a uniform pattern.

If you aren’t familiar with these tools and their uses don’t let that stand in your way of becoming an automotive technician. At Arizona Automotive Institute, you’ll get the hands-on automotive technician training that you need to become more comfortable with these tools and the classroom instruction to help you know when and why to use them.

For more information about the Automotive Service Technician program at AAI click here!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator- Arizona Automotive Institute

Tips for a Healthy and Happy Fourth of July

The Fourth of July is one of the most celebrated holidays of the year and rightfully so.  We’re celebrating the birth of, not only our nation, but the birth of democracy itself.  And how do we choose to celebrate? With fireworks, family, sunshine and barbecues, of course!

But the holiday can also come with a few potential hazards if you’re not careful. Not to worry; we’ve got some helpful tips to make this Fourth a happy and healthy one!

Bring some earplugs

And no, they’re not to tune out your annoying cousin Larry.  Fireworks can produce a sound output that is in the 150 to 175 decibel range. The World Health Organization recommends that adults not be exposed to more than 140 decibels of peak sound pressure and for children, the recommendation is 120 decibels. Ear protection is recommended for decibels above 85.  So be sure to grab a pair of earplugs before you head out to enjoy the fireworks.

Apply Sunscreen

To keep your skin from matching the red, in the red, white, and blue of the American flag, you’ll want to apply sunscreen.  According to the American Academy of Dermatology it takes approximately 15 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you. So you’ll want to put it on before you’re out in the sun. You’ll want to use something with an SPF of 30 or higher, that is water resistant and provides broad-spectrum coverage. Reapply every couple of hours to prevent sunburn. Follow the American Academy of Dermatology’s tips on How to apply sunscreen and you should be covered.

Stay Hydrated

Being outside in the sun for a picnic or barbeque cookout can make you more susceptible to dehydration and other health risks. Keeping a bottle of water nearby will help to keep you cool and hydrated throughout the day’s festivities. Plus alternating each alcoholic beverage (if you are of age) with a bottle of water, will help to stave off alcohol-induced dehydration.

Practice Safe Barbecuing

So you’re the one who’s manning or woman-ing the grill; then it’s up to you to make sure that you’re practicing safe barbecuing. This means that you’re designating different plates for the raw and cooked meat, you’re marinating food in the refrigerator and not out on the counter, you’re cooking the food thoroughly, you’re not leaving the food out in the sun for more than 2 hours (one if temperatures are really extreme), and you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for safely operating your grill.

Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a happy and healthy Fourth of July!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – Arizona Automotive Institute

8 Things to Know When Going on an Automotive Service Technician Interview

So you’ve completed your automotive technician training and you’re ready to start interviewing. We asked Arizona Automotive Institute, AST Instructor, Jason Cozzolino for some helpful tips to use when going on an automotive service tech interview and he came up with these 8 things to know:

  1. Be Honest: You will be asked about your experience level. Don’t lie. If you have little experience, focus on other good qualities. Such as desire to work in the field, great work ethic, ability to learn etc.
  2. Be Certified: Automotive certifications are important. It isn’t likely that a tech that is just starting out will have all of the ASE Certifications, but it is possible to have one or two. This demonstrates your serious intent of being a professional.
  3. Be Equipped: Tools are important of course, but a new tech is not expected to have the same amount and quality of tools a seasoned tech may have.
  4. Be Informed: It is important to understand how you will be paid. There are several ways a tech can be paid. Such as hourly, flat rate and commission. There advantages and disadvantages to all pay structures. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  5. Be Sure: There are many types of shops to work at. There are independently owned shops, franchised shops, tire and lube shops and dealerships. It’s important to have a general idea where you want your career to take you.
  6. Be Open: Options are important. Not every shop is a good fit for every tech. Be open to checking out a few shops before making your decision.
  7. Be Positive: Always try and be as positive as possible, first impressions are very important.
  8. Be Yourself: Don’t try to be someone you’re not. By being yourself you offer at least one thing that no one else can offer…You.

Following these tips can pay off by ensuring that you leave a positive and lasting impression on your interviewer. For more tips like these contact AAI’s Career Services Department at (480) 389-2258.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Arizona Automotive Institute

To Be Your Student

Graduating from a traditional, four-year college, I didn’t have the privilege or experience of learning from the skilled professionals at Arizona Automotive Institute, Platt College, and South Texas Vocational Technical Institute. While I was able to learn many of the same important life lessons you instill upon our students – professionalism, sacrifice, service, leadership, respect and discipline. I cannot help but wonder how great it would have been to be one of your students.

  • To work side-by-side with a master welder bending molten metal
  • To learn medical ethics and patient care from nurses who have experienced the joy of life and sadness of death throughout their career as part of their calling, credo & DNA
  • To sweat under the hood of a tractor trailer or automobile with someone who could tear an engine apart and rebuild it in their sleep
  • To trace the veins of a patient with a Medical Assisting Instructor on route to a perfect stick
  • To replicate a sterile operating environment ensuring the field and formation exceeded the expectation of a seasoned Surgical Technologist
  • To roll egg whites delicately, flip a crepe perfectly, or flambé a dessert elegantly as my chef instructor stood watching with admiration, pride and nervousness
  • To properly learn dosage calculations, effectively administer air management techniques and recite recent revisions to medical record coding
  • To be on the roof of a commercial building identifying faults in an air conditioning unit with an instructor who knew the problem before we took our first step up the ladder
  • To take impressions and fabricate crowns, as a Dental Assisting Instructor stood by as a mentor & cheerleader
  • To mimic the graceful motions of a Professional Massage Therapist as they outlined a flawless Swedish technique
  • To sit completely awestruck in a class where a general education or CAS instructor was able to effectively connect theory to reality, and reality to my career aspirations

While my list of missed educational opportunities is long, as the President & CEO of Ancora Education, I have had made up for it through my many interactions with each of you – our esteemed faculty.

As we close out National Teacher Appreciation Week, I know I am a better person for working with, and learning from, each of you. As a company, we stand in complete admiration of your contribution and commitment to student success. You are the reason our educational model works. You are the reason our students work. Their experience, in your presence, creates life-long opportunity, tangible change, and a better future.

Sincerely,

Michael J. Zawisky

President & CEO

5 Reasons to Celebrate Your Instructors during Teacher Appreciation Week

When you really add up all the time we spend in school, from kindergarten to high school graduation and even on to higher education for a lot of us, it’s evident how important a role teachers really play in our lives. Without teachers, we would have no doctors, nurses, or presidents. We would have no mechanics, engineers, or welders. We wouldn’t even know how to read this very article.

With all things considered, we should show our appreciation for our teachers every day, but since this week happens to be when, we as a nation, observe Teacher Appreciation Week, here are five reasons to celebrate your instructors:

  1. Their Inspiration –

Your instructors possess an immeasurable amount of knowledge and understanding of their field, and they have chosen to share their passion and knowledge with you, as their students.

  1. Their Dedication –

As instructors they have chosen to dedicate their lives to helping their students have a successful future. They give of themselves, day-in and day-out to help you along your educational journey.

  1. Their Support –

When you’re having a hard time understanding a concept or struggling with preparing for a test, your instructors are there to offer you their support. They want to see you succeed and will go out of their way to make sure you have the support you need.

  1. Their Willingness to Challenge You –

Your instructors are there when you’re struggling, but in the same way that they will support you, they are also willing to challenge you. It is through these challenges that you learn to grow, both as a student and as a person.

  1. For Believing in You –

Even when you might not have believed in yourself, your instructors believed in you.  Because they believed that you could succeed, you believed that you would succeed.

Share your reasons to celebrate your instructors in the comments!

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education

What Food Labels Aren’t Telling Us

Food Labels 101

You would think that if you wanted to know exactly what is in your food, you would just read the label. Think again. Although labels are supposed to be there to tell us exactly what’s in the food we’re about to purchase, they can be extremely deceiving. With consumers being more health conscious than they ever have been, food companies have figured out how to trick us with misleading claims and clever marketing phrases.

Labeling claims are carefully crafted to catch your attention and convince you that the product is healthier than it actually is. Look out for these common, but misleading phrases found on food labels.

Natural

This is possibly the most misleading term in the food industry. This does not mean that the product is healthy or even all that natural. The word “Natural” is used to reel in unaware consumers who tend to believe it means the same thing as “organic”, which it does not.  In fact, when it comes to labeling foods, the term has no clear meaning and isn’t regulated by the FDA, much less, any agency. A recent survey of 1,005 adults  by Consumer Reports found that more than half of consumers usually seek out products with “natural” on the label, based on the false belief that they’re made without GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms), hormones, or artificial ingredients.

Low Fat

Food labels claiming that the product is “low fat” can be found on everything from yogurt to salad dressing. Unlike the term “natural”, the FDA does regulate when this claim can be used. This may seem to offer the assurance that the food has a significant nutritional benefit, but in fact it could be the opposite. Low fat products are processed to reduce either calories or fat and some products are simply watered down. Often when these things are removed something is added in their place, like sugar or artificial ingredients.

Cage free or Free Range

The terms “cage free” or “free range” might conjure up lovely images of happy hens frolicking around a farm yard all day, without a care in the world, but unfortunately this is not the case. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) defines free range as having exposure to the outdoors. The problem is that there are no requirements for the amount, duration or quality of the outdoor exposure. Most “free range” or “cage free” birds spend their lives in extremely over-crowded warehouses, with little exposure to the outdoors. Diseases run rampant in these conditions, due to unclean surroundings, tight quarters and contaminated feed. If you are looking for eggs or poultry from happy birds, look for “pasture raised” on the labels.

Sugar Free

Products labeled “sugar free” may not contain refined sugar, but it is often replaced with something far less healthy. “Sugar free” usually indicates the presence of artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols. Aspartame, sucralose, and other artificial sweeteners can have just as many, if not more negative health effects than regular sugar. Just because a food has no added sugar, doesn’t mean that it’s sugar free! Juice, for example has no sugar added to it, but the naturally-occurring sugar in an 8 ounce glass of juice still contains anywhere from 24 to 36 grams of sugar – the equivalent of six to nine teaspoons.

Finding your way in the supermarket jungle

Making informed choices on the food that we buy for ourselves and our families can be difficult when food companies are constantly trying to mislead us, but here are a few suggestions to help you find your way:

  1. Stay informed – the best way to avoid being pulled-in by healthy-sounding deceptive marketing phrases is to become knowledgeable about the foods that you should be eating.
  2. Be skeptical – If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  3. Shop the Perimeter – The perimeter of the store is where the freshest and least processed foods are generally found, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, and fish.
  4. Keep it simple – Avoid foods that contain more than five ingredients, artificial ingredients or ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Want to see if you’ve learned a few things about food labels? Take the Web MD quiz here.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator – Ancora Education