Lincoln Technical Institute is proud to celebrate Melrose Park Automotive Instructor Dan Spano’s 40 years with the Lincoln family! Mr. Spano began his journey with Lincoln in 1976, when it was known as Greer Tech. Over the years, he has seen a lot of change within the automotive industry. How did this long relationship with automotive and Lincoln begin? As he describes it, it all began with an interest in fixing things.
“As a youngster, even in grade school, I was interested in small engines and fixing things,” Mr. Spano says. “My family had a boat with an outboard motor, and I frequently did motor repairs. As a teenager in high school, I took shop classes along with college prep courses and I found that repairing things came naturally.” He then took jobs in neighborhood shops to learn the business even more while he was attending the University of Illinois for his BSEE.
During his time at the University of Illinois, Mr. Spano joined the Army Reserves and became a military instructor. While teaching basic training and infantry subjects, his interest in teaching was sparked and he continued on for several years. Upon graduation and a short stint working in the engineering field, he applied for the Automotive Instructor position at Greer and knew it was a perfect combination of his love of teaching and automotive mechanics.
As you can imagine, a lot has changed in the industry since Mr. Spano began teaching 40 years ago! “When I started there were no electronics in the cars,” he says. “Many cars did not even use alternators, but instead DC generators. Now, cars last longer and look better than ever, but they are also more complex with sophisticated features. They still have four wheels though!”
Mr. Spano’s advice to students is to have both a healthy interest in technology and cars. “A healthy interest will carry a person through when things get boring. An interested student should work on cars any chance he or she gets.” He also suggests students work with professionals to get a real insight into what the job entails: “Hang around a shop, they may put you to work!”
Schools like Lincoln Tech, Mr. Spano notes, can offer important specialty automotive career training. “Much more training is required than ever before,” he explains. “Get trained!”
Reflecting on his impressive 40-year career with Greer and Lincoln Tech Melrose Park, Mr. Spano says it’s gone very fast. “The years do fly by!” he says. “I’ve made lasting acquaintances over the years with students and others in the field. I run into former students and graduates in nearly every shop I visit. It has been a very rewarding experience!”