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­­Top Tech: The Sky’s NOT the Limit ­­

When it comes to finding new customers for the shop, Kim Brant looks outside the box.

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Kim Brant, an automotive technician at Joe’s Tire and Auto Service, St. Joseph, MO, has been named the 2012 Best Tech, sponsored by WIX Filters.

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WIX Filters, a member of the Affinia Group family of brands, in conjunction with Brake & Front End, ImportCar and Underhood Service magazines, named Brant the second-annual WIX Filters Best Tech during the annual Automotive Warehouse Distributors Association (AWDA) Meeting and Conference in Las Vegas on Oct. 29.

As part of his award, he and a guest traveled to the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX) for an all-expenses paid trip to Las Vegas.

“From the diagnosis of electrical problems to evaluating exhaust systems to recommending the best parts — technicians play a major role in enhancing a vehicle’s performance,” said Mike Harvey, brand manager for WIX Filters.

“We are thrilled to recognize Kim Brant for the second-annual Best Tech award for his ­distinguished career built on outstanding ­customer service as a committed ­advisor and resource, and for his dedication to learning as vehicles become more sophisticated with a wider range of repairs and maintenance work.”

Brant, an ASE Certified Master Technician and a WIX Expert-Level Certified tech, said he was thrilled and humbled to receive the honor of being named a Top Tech.

“With complicated systems that make up automobiles today, it is imperative that technicians provide the highest-quality service to ensure that drivers and passengers are safe on roadways,” said Brant. kim brant, right, proudly displays his tech of the year trophy with two-time nhra funny car champion tony pedregon during the babcox night of excellence awards dinner during the aapex show in las vegas.

“I am truly delighted to win this award not only for myself but for everyone at Joe’s Tire & Auto Service. From our technicians, owners to service writers, we hold the shop to the highest standards by encouraging ongoing education, implementing top-level industry standards and providing excellent ­customer service, which drives returning ­customers.”

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Brant, who has been in the automotive and repair service industry for 28 years, was a ­runner up in the 2011 Best Tech program last year. He’s worked at Joe’s Tire and Auto (www.stjoeautoservice.com) for about four years, and before that served as a technician in a few local dealerships and tire stores.

Besides his exceptional customer service, Brant has been active in his community’s youth organizations and local technical school.

He also is credited for his penchant to go the extra mile to gain a new customer for Joe’s Tire and Auto Service, an independent repair shop that has been servicing the St. Joseph area since 1984. joe’s tire and auto service is an independent repair shop servicing the st. joseph area since 1984.

“My biggest enjoyment from the auto industry is the challenge of determining the vehicle failure and taking that process clear through to returning the vehicle to the customer, properly repaired,” he said.

Brant, whose own “fleet” of vehicles includes his daily drive, a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan, also owns a 1988 GMC 1500 4×4 and a 1966 Dodge Dart GT Convertible. His love of vehicles developed at an early age through his father’s business.

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“My father owned a Mobil service station from my infancy to my teenage years,” Brant said. “Without his involvement in the automotive world, I’m sure that I would not be involved myself.”

Community Involvement
In addition to his service as an automotive
technician, Brant also was recognized for his community service that includes:
• Raising money for Habitat for Humanity;
• Raising money for the Special Olympics; and
• Participating in Neighborhood Beautification programs and recycling efforts.

Service Call
One of the most unique jobs Brant had seen as a technician had to be the servicing of an A/C system on a local Life Flight helicopter that had been grounded.

Since the law requires the A/C system to be in working order for the helicopter to be used for medical purposes, Brant was asked by his shop owner if he could fix the helicopter’s A/C system since the company that previously serviced the craft was no longer in business.

Although he had never repaired a vehicle that is designed to leave the ground, Brant hit the Internet to research the helicopter’s HVAC system, grabbed his tools and headed out to Rosecrans Memorial Airport, where he was greeted by the Life Flight air staff.

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After servicing the A/C system successfully, Brant said he was confident he would be contacted to service the system if it ever needs it in the future.

Brant said he was happy to be of assistance in the Life Flight’s return to the skies, and that today’s shop’s can find business “outside the box.”

“I’ve worked on a lot of unique vehicles — from Ferraris to Lamborghinis to Prowlers — but not many techs in this business can say they have worked on a helicopter.”

And not just any helicopter, but a Life Flight helicopter.

Runners-Up
WIX Filters and Babcox Media also named two 2012 Best Tech finalists:
Travis Luscomb from Larson’s Service, Inc. in Peabody, MA, and;
Kevin Dietz from BTS Tire and Service in Providence, RI.

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