Thursday, 02 May 2019 17:22

From Auto Body Tech to Teacher & Back Again: The Felix Cano Story

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Geronimo Medrano (left) won the SkillUSA National Championships in 2000 under the tutelage of Felix Cano. Geronimo Medrano (left) won the SkillUSA National Championships in 2000 under the tutelage of Felix Cano.


Some collision repair professionals are content with doing a good job and taking home a nice paycheck at the end of the week, while others want to give back to the industry in one way or another.


Felix Cano is a prime example of the latter, and his story is both inspirational and intriguing. Cano, 57, works at Quality Colors Collision in Dallas, TX, after trying retirement and finding he didn’t like it. However, his role as an instructor is the part of his journey that he is the most proud of.


Cano has always had a passion for collision repair, an industry he entered in 1980 after learning the trade from his father, Felix, Sr. His career path was re-directed two decades ago when he became an instructor and a mentor at H. Grady High School in Dallas, TX, his alma mater.


By working with his father, Cano learned the right way to do body work and loves passing the knowledge on to his students.


“He taught me the basics and how to work efficiently,” he said. “I would do 100 hours and he would do 120---I never beat him. He told me that when I swing a hammer 10 times, he swings it only once. Do it right the first time, every time, he told me. He taught me that if I could slow down, I would make more money, and it hit me like a bolt of lightning, and that’s when I really started to excel. My dad is now 80 years old and still working at Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet Auto Collison, which is pretty amazing.”


In high school, Cano got involved in its collision repair program and competed in SkillsUSA for three years.


“I had a great teacher, Donald Williams, and he was the head of the department,” he said. “I loved that man because he taught me about how to fix cars, but he also taught me about life.”


Every year that Cano entered in the SkillsUSA competition, he improved his standing, but never got a shot at the national championship.

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