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Burbank Public Works Fleet Technicians Pitch in to Attain Blue Seal of Excellence

Fleet technicians at the City of Burbank, Calif., divvied up outstanding certifications for the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence and started studying – Fleet Services obtained its Blue Seal in October.

December 2011, Government Fleet - WebXclusive

by Brittni Rubin

Fleet employees at the City of Burbank are: (front row, l-r) Raul Martinez, Art Derzakharian; (second row, l-r) David Rodriguez, John Leil, Rex Richardson, Chris Whitney, Ron Martin, Johnny Stein, Craig Van Item; (third row, l-r) Rich Benson, Richard Powell, and Mike Muravez.
Fleet employees at the City of Burbank are: (front row, l-r) Raul Martinez, Art Derzakharian; (second row, l-r) David Rodriguez, John Leil, Rex Richardson, Chris Whitney, Ron Martin, Johnny Stein, Craig Van Item; (third row, l-r) Rich Benson, Richard Powell, and Mike Muravez.

In March of 2009, the City of Burbank's Public Works Fleet Services department applied for the ASE Blue Seal of Excellence, only to receive a letter one month later stating it did not qualify.

The ASE program has very rigorous criteria; to obtain the Blue Seal, at least 75 percent of technicians in a given repair shop must be certified. And, each area of service offered at the shop must be covered by at least one ASE-certified professional. As of April 2009, Burbank needed five more certifications to be eligible, according to the City's Public Works Fleet Superintendent, David Rodriguez.

Pictured are Fleet Services technicians (l-r) Brian Orlowski and Kurtis Denny.
Pictured are Fleet Services technicians (l-r) Brian Orlowski and Kurtis Denny.

Therefore, a few technicians on the Burbank team stepped up to the plate to take on the responsibility of completing the final certifications.

Included in that handful was Johnny Stein, a dealership technician with 20 years of mechanic experience - 10 years at a dealership and another 10 years at independent shops - under his belt. He came to Burbank with an ASE masters certification for Automobile and Light Trucks (A series) in addition to the Advanced Engine Performance Specialist certification (L1).

"Right after I started here, I also got the four other required truck ASEs - we all pitched in as a team to try and finish off all of the certifications that we needed for the Blue Seal," Stein said. "It's a lot to study for, and a lot of the information varies," Stein said.

Each test contains an average of 40-70 multiple choice questions that measure knowledge through practice problems encountered in day-to-day work situations.

"I usually like to start studying for the testing about a month or two months out, and I study usually during our breaks here at work and at lunchtime," Stein said. "Then I'll go home and dedicate at least one hour per night the month before the testing."

ASE offers testing only twice a year, and it is priced anywhere between $30-60 per test plus a $36 registration fee. Stein's total cost landed around $190 - most of it reimbursed by Burbank's fleet department.

Rex Richardson, also a technician for the City of Burbank, volunteered to obtain more ASE certifications to qualify the repair shop.  Similar to Stein, he already had a light-duty master certification, but wanted to learn more about the heavy-duty realm. After passing the basic heavy-duty certification test, he continued on to receive his master certification as well.

"I found out I was working on some heavy-duty things, and that's when I started getting interested in the ASE master [certification] in it," Richardson said. "It gave me a lot of education actually. Even though you think you know a lot, you will pick up a lot from reading that book and studying the testing materials - it's a really good program."

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