Identifix Inc., along with the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), honored Edward Kiekover, an ASE Master automobile technician from Zeeland, Mich., with the Identifix/ASE Aftermarket Driveability Technician of the Year award. The award was presented in November during the ASE Fall Board of Governors meeting in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
The ASE annual awards honor the top scorers on the ASE Certification Tests, along with other criteria such as on-the-job excellence and community service. Out of a talent pool of 300,000 ASE-certified technicians nationwide, only 47 ranked high enough to receive awards. Identifix is one of just 38 companies in the OEM and aftermarket industries to co-sponsor an individual technician award in the auto, truck and collision and parts segments, in addition to three instructor awards.
“We’ve been partnering with the ASE to sponsor this award since 1999,” said Jeff Sweet, Identifix president. “The qualities that exemplify the Aftermarket Driveability Technician of the Year — precision, integrity and fortitude — are the same ones we strive for with our own team of ASE Master technicians who staff our Repair Hotline, so our sponsorship is the perfect fit. We congratulate Mr. Kiekover and wish him much success in the future.”
Keikover co-owns three OK Tire stores and has been an automotive technician for 35 years. Of more than 100 questions in the ASE tests in subjects such as engine performance, electrical, brakes, front end, steering and alignment, Keikover missed only one, which qualified him for the award. He enjoys volunteering in the community through his church activities and also mentors troubled youth. Keikover cited increased technology as the No. 1 change he’s seen in the automotive industry since he started at OK Tires in 1979.
“Back then, the cars we worked on were from the ‘60s and ‘70s, which was practically from the Jurassic Period, when they were big and heavy, and for lack of a better word, crude,” he said. “I’m amazed by the incredible use of electronics today and the complexity of what they allow us to do. Technicians still have the ‘grease monkey’ reputation, and it simply isn’t true anymore. For example, I use up to five laptops at my job every day.”
Keikover’s secret to a fulfilling career isn’t in prestige or profits, but in personal connections, such as when a customer smiles and thanks him for taking care of the issue, as well as the satisfaction that comes with a job done right.
“I have a saying at work, and it’s ‘humility is the next car in the bay,’” he said. “I love my job because it’s a never-ending challenge of my ability to diagnose and fix cars.”