Friday, 31 December 2004 09:00

Ceremony for students receiving the AAM accreditation

Written by Karyn Hendricks
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ASA's Celebration of Excellence, held at the Flamingo during NACE, began with an emotional graduation ceremony. The Automotive Management Institute handed out diplomas to autobody professionals who had earned the right to the designation AAM - Accredited Automotive Managers. 

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The largest group of graduates ever from the Automotive Management Institute proudly show off their diplomas after a moving ceremony at ASA's Celebration of Excellence at NACE.

Graduates decked out in caps and gowns filed onto the stage to receive their diplomas from Toni Slaton, AMI executive director, and John Francis, Jr., chairman of the board.

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Further highlighting the ceremony was the presentation of the AAM certificate to Slaton herself. She offered that "attending AMI courses has provided me with insight into the challenges facing the automotive service industry and enables me to stay abreast of timely issues that should be addressed in our courses."

About the AAM

The AAM recognizes industry professionals who successfully complete AMI course work and earn a minimum of 120 credits in five core education areas: financial management; marketing and sales; operations and service; management and administration; and personnel and human resource development.

The AMI faculty tailors each management topic to the industry, giving participants information that can be applied directly and immediately for continuous and positive results in their service business.

Profile of a graduate

After three years of work, Marcos Hernandez, manager, A&C Paint and Body, Lemon Grove, California, picked up his diploma with much pride. Armed with his AAM, Hernandez hopes to reach out to other Hispanic shop owners and bring them into the system.

Hernandez plans to get involved with AMI - helping bring smaller shops into the fold. Many small shop owners feel intimidated by associations and shy away from joining. He would like to see AMI develop a multi-language manual, indicating that he would be a project he'd like to get involved in.

In addition, he'd like to see the autobody associations reach out more to the smaller shops and make them feel comfortable in the organization. He feels there should be more unity among associations in their outreach to less educated shop owners. There are important issues continually on the horizon for shop owners to absorb and it is important that all shops - large and small - have access to the most up-to-date information, often disbursed by the associations.
Role model 
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Hernandez is certainly a role model. He grew up in Mexico and came to the U.S. at age 17 to attend San Diego State University. He later returned to Tijuana to attend law school. He began working at local San Diego dealership Seaside Buick in 1977 and worked his way up to painter while attending college. He later became assistant manager at Colonial Ford in National City, acquired corporate traiing from the Corporate Auto Group and completed the circle by returning to Seaside Buick as manager.

He is the father of two teenage daughters, Veronica and Bridget, and one son Marcos, who were born and raised in Chula Vista, a San Diego suburb.

In his copious free time, Hernandez likes building hot rods and plays a little golf. All members of the Hernandez family are soccer fanatics.

Along with his job at A&C, Hernandez plans to do some consulting work with small shops as he has done in the past. He plans to continue his education learning about the mechanical side of automotive repairs.