Auto tech club helps struggling automotive program



A red two-door 1941 Hudson Commodore drop top convertible powered by a V6 cylinder engine is a far cry from what the Future Automotive Service Technician’s (F.A.S.T.) Club members are used to, but they are working on it.

Becoming official in the beginning of the 2013 spring semester, the club so far consists of 18 to 20 members, headed by club president Chase Williams, who all share a passion for what’s under a car’s hood along with how good they would look driving it.

The automotive service technology section of the Industrial Technology Department was one of the few organizations that didn’t have a club until department chair Tom Fortune and now club vice president Isabel Alvarez shook things up.

“The students were seeing all these other clubs being formed and buildings being updated, they wanted to make it happen for themselves,” Fortune said.

Located off of the Mason Avenue entrance, the IT department is far from the heart of the campus, but auto students still want to be included in Pierce’s beautification and overall development process.

“Go look at the trees and greenery in front of the closed-down Plant Facilities, then come look at the landscape in front of our building,” said Fortune. “We don’t even have grass.”

No grass, wireless connection, or proper housing units for their automotive equipment sometimes make mechanical practices difficult, but instead of waiting for changes to happen, the students look to collectively raise money for their program.

Their very first event, a car show fundraiser, will take place on May 11 at Pierce College from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is open to the public.

According to Alvarez, the success of this fundraiser will measure the frequency and type of events the F.A.S.T. Club will arrange in the future. The club hopes to make this car fundraiser an annual affair.

In addition to just raising money, the F.A.S.T. Club provides a community full of knowledgeable auto enthusiasts who offer a support system for those pursuing a career into the automotive industry by building relationships with car companies.

“We want to prepare people for the ASE [Automotive Service Excellence] test,” said Alvarez. “Instead of people just getting degrees, we want them to become certified mechanics.”

Though it may require certification to crank a wrench to an engine in a Pep Boys uniform, all you need is a Pierce student identification number and an interest in cars to suit up for the F.A.S.T. Club.

The F.A.S.T. Club conducts their meetings every Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the IT building, room 3641.

“We are going to have fun, bottom line,” said Dan Poppell, F.A.S.T. Club’s public relations officer. “Izzy [Alvarez] came to me with a great idea and I am willing to do anything to help.”

Poppell, who drives a 1984 Pontiac Fiero, considers being a founding member of the F.A.S.T. Club as an honor and a duty to the Automotive Department.

“Honestly we saw a need, we fulfilled that need,” said Poppell. “It [F.A.S.T. Club] represents a passion.”