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mike6024

McPherson College Restoration Technology

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In the specialized work of automotive careers, one midwest college is doing something unique. They’re educating and promoting the next generation of automotive restorers. That’s right…McPherson college is the only institution of higher education in America that offers a bachelor’s degree in restoration technology. As our FYI reporter Stephanie Hart explains, graduates are schooled in all aspects of the car collecting world.

 


BASITH PH
Man I need a tour at McPherson College!


 Curren Harris
Come out to our 21st annual C.A.R.S Club Motoring Festival the first weekend in May 2020!  We do shop tours and lab demonstrations as well as bring in around 400 cars from all over the country!

 

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There has been some talk about something like that out here. Maybe that might have something to do with what has gone on, not sure? Nice to see people looking at  careers in the vintages cars as a skilled trade. Out here businesses are still targeted. (old school out look on things) Some people just can not get past the thought of owning other peoples businesses. Hope the college for the vintage cars does well, Idaho could do a lot of things to, just has to cut loose of an old way of thinking/looking at things.

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Posted (edited)

Pennsylvania College of Technology, the widely respected

trade-school affiliate of the Pennsylvania State University,

has an Associates' Degree program on antique-car restoration.

 

Edited by John_S_in_Penna (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)

McPherson ?

 

Their placement program leaves a lot to be desired ....

 

I set up Louie at Last Chance Garage with that college - contact information was exchanged - this was before Memorial Day - Louie has had no contact from them at all.

 

Louie ended up finding someone local.

 

Jim

Edited by Trulyvintage (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

We have had employees from McPherson as well as Penn Tech. If I have one concern it is this; These schools seem to prepare students to start and operate their own shops with heavy emphasis on the business side of things rather than the actual "restoration" skills that are so badly needed by the industry.  We have little interest in training those who see us as a "stop over" where they can learn the daily ins and out of the restoration business (and develop a list of potential customers) before opening their own shop. Don't get me wrong, I applaud anyone with the gumption to start their own business but I am less excited about training our competitors. This is the first year in several years that we have not received unsolicited applications from recent graduates of these schools.

Edited by Restorer32 (see edit history)
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5 minutes ago, Restorer32 said:

We have little interest in training those who see us as a "stop over" where they can learn the daily ins and out of the restoration business (and develop a list of potential customers) before opening their own shop.

 

While I see your point, I also have seen that there's little one can do to stop an employee from starting their own shop if they wish.

 

I worked at White Post Restorations, and can give you a list of people who've worked there and gone on to have very successful businesses.  One had a major client, who was so impressed with his work, "steal him away" set him up in business doing just that one man's restorations.  Another set up a metal working shop and is doing great.  Another had a successful shop for a while and even restored a Tucker or two. Yet another set up a full service restoration shop and was very successful, although he's moved on to another phase of his career now.  That shop is still open under his partner's management.

 

Thus, the restoration shop spawned a whole industry of car restoration in the Shenandoah Valley.  The owner may not have been happy about it, but really nothing he could do. The on the job training was invaluable in giving people more choices and well trained craftsmen to do restoration work, so I don't see it as a bad thing.  The owner of the restoration shop got value for the work they did, they were able to hone their skills to the shop's advantage, and money was made by the shop.

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Posted (edited)

Since we are on the subject of McPherson College,  I was wondering of anyone might remember, or might have known, Julian "Pop" Rice that started McPherson's automobile restoration program? McPherson still gives out the "Pop Rice Award" to one of their students each year in his honor.

 

After leaving McPherson (over 50 years ago) Pop moved to a location in Tennessee near me and started Peggy Craft Restorers, a business that was handed down to his son and now to his grandson who still carries on the work of restoring cars. I knew Pop and his family well. He was a master craftsman who's workmanship was second to none. He did a lot of work for Howard Baker Jr. and the Coker family (Coker Tire)  from Chattanooga. Pop has been gone for many years but I was hoping someone here might remember him

Edited by Ronnie (see edit history)
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I don't know Pop Rice personally  but I do know that I have Pops 1931 franklin. He restored the car in 1969 for the guy that I bought the car from .It won an AACA 1st place in 1970. It is still a beauty. I drove it 500 miles two weeks ago at the Franklin Trek in upstate NY. Purred like a kitten . I have all the bills from Peggy Craft Restorers. He did great work. 

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well I certainly see Restorer 32's point of view. I'ld rather hire elsewhere as well.............

 

better chance of retention is important when it takes a couple of years to hone one's skills. It is a loss leader at the beginning of the process for the restoration shop.

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For 20 years I taught the final year of a commercial and industrial HVAC apprenticeship. The best outcomes were when an employer sponsored ($$$) the employee student for the four year term. It gave commitment on both sides and helped them build a relationship over the first years where a high level of job turnover can occur. I taught the business operation, but in a manner that encouraged staying with the employer and understanding the needs of the business.

 

I would encourage a group the SEMA to promote the college with shops to take a similar approach. It is a worthwhile investment if the employer fully buys in.

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4 hours ago, 29 franklin said:

I don't know Pop Rice personally  but I do know that I have Pops 1931 franklin. He restored the car in 1969 for the guy that I bought the car from .It won an AACA 1st place in 1970. It is still a beauty. I drove it 500 miles two weeks ago at the Franklin Trek in upstate NY. Purred like a kitten . I have all the bills from Peggy Craft Restorers. He did great work. 

 

Good to know that you have heard of him and have a car he restored. I was probably around Pop's shop with his grandson in '69 when your car was being restored. At that time the Rice family lived right at the shop where they restored the cars. They did a lot of the restoration work in their basement. I visited their home several times.

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I knew Pop Rice a little. A number of the collectors in the Nashville area used Pop for a lot of work.

 

Didn't know of his connection to McPherson.

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Posted (edited)
On 8/12/2019 at 8:24 AM, Restorer32 said:

We have had employees from McPherson as well as Penn Tech. If I have one concern it is this; These schools seem to prepare students to start and operate their own shops with heavy emphasis on the business side of things rather than the actual "restoration" skills that are so badly needed by the industry.  We have little interest in training those who see us as a "stop over" where they can learn the daily ins and out of the restoration business (and develop a list of potential customers) before opening their own shop. Don't get me wrong, I applaud anyone with the gumption to start their own business but I am less excited about training our competitors. This is the first year in several years that we have not received unsolicited applications from recent graduates of these schools.

 

You and the school are at a bit of cross purposes. You see your interests best served by the school producing a crop of loyal grunts to serve the trade. The school sees its interests best served by producing a crop of persons with the ability to enter and in the future expand the trade.

I'm thinking the trade, as a whole, is best served by the schools approach...........................Bob

Edited by Bhigdog (see edit history)
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This issue is not unique to the auto restoration business.  You can have a non-compete clause in an employment contract, but be aware that they are very hard to enforce because you cannot prohibit a person from earning a living in their field.  Another route is to have a sort of "vesting" whereby a new employee who leaves within the first couple of years owes you a declining compensation for the education they received on the job.

 

 

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3 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

Another route is to have a sort of "vesting" whereby a new employee who leaves within the first couple of years owes you a declining compensation for the education they received on the job.

 

It's a car repair shop not a plantation.......Sheesh!................Bob

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You can like the idea or not, but it's pretty common out there.  The most common is when the company pays for your college while you are working for them.  The first wide use I was aware of was when Ross Perot's energy company did most of their hiring from a small Texas college, and thought fresh grads were learning as much as producing.

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Posted (edited)

There are lots of people in the world that can run a business, good or bad.  But try to find a skilled body guy, or painter, or upholster, etc,  who is not 60 plus years old.   The death of the car hobby will be from the lack of skilled technicians that can restore and maintain the cars. 

 

If the restoration degrees are really focused on the business side and not the hard skills they are wasting everyone's time.    It should be 90/10 hard skills.

 

 

Edited by alsancle (see edit history)
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18 minutes ago, bryankazmer said:

The most common is when the company pays for your college while you are working for them.

 

That's a bit different than, in effect,  "charging" an employee for his time spent in your service. In the aviation industry that is tried to some extent when a company spends $50,000 in real dollars over only 3 weeks to type rate a new pilot in their aircraft and requires the pilot to stay with them for one year. Another wrinkle in exploitation is the intern system where a hopeful newbie is asked to work for free to "gain experience". That also is used to this day in some facets of aviation where a pilot with very little experience is used  as a co-pilot for little or no pay..............Bob

 

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The unpaid internship is particularly abused in pre-vet students trying to boost resumes in a very competitive process.

Engineering internships, at least in my experience ,were on the other hand very generous - you were paid like a new grad.

All depends on supply/demand in the profession.

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18 minutes ago, alsancle said:

But try to find a skilled body guy, or painter, or upholster, etc,  who is not 60 plus years old.

 

Urban myth! .....Restoration ain't brain surgery and ninety percent of quality work is attention to detail and a customer willing to pay for it.

 

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1 minute ago, bryankazmer said:

All depends on supply/demand in the profession.

 

BINGO!...............Bob

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42 minutes ago, alsancle said:

But try to find a skilled body guy, or painter, or upholster, etc,  who is not 60 plus years old.

 

McPherson is a college as opposed to many technical training and apprentice programs that have some level of government funding aid. Most common to the aided programs is regular drug testing. Sponsors of the programs, over the past couple of decades say they can't keep trade students because they can't pass the drug tests. I have set in the chambers in City Hall and heard "We have funds, instructors, jobs, employer support, but they can't pass a weekly drug test to stay in".

 

Pick up the phone or email any state or federal job development training program. Ask what the biggest deterrent to completion of the program is. 

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I generally called drug testing "the stupid test" because if you know you are going to be tested as a condition of employment.....

And yet there were failures

 

This is becoming a much more difficult area with the legalization of marijuana in many states as the testing quantification and impairment levels are not as established as alcohol, and THC is a slow eliminating chemical.

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