For MassBay Community College’s Automotive Technology professor, Nick Pavloski, it’s always been about cars. He is a first-generation college graduate who credits his automotive passion to his childhood days repairing cars in Cleveland, Ohio. Pavloski’s Yugoslavian immigrant parents, “…were always somewhat conscious of spending. So, whenever something went wrong with a car or an appliance, we always tried to fix them ourselves. That’s how I got into repairing things when I was young.”
Pavloski took a very unconventional path to get to MassBay, where he now teaches sophomores in the BMW associate degree program. He attended technical school and then traveled throughout the U.S., gaining the skills necessary to work with high-end vehicles.
“I wanted to have that fast-track of training and it was extremely difficult to find an education path for that. I had to move all over the country to get fully trained. I went to school in Chicago, then moved to Florida, then ended up working in New Hampshire so that I could thoroughly train for my job. The ironic thing is that Mass Bay, if I knew about it back then, would have provided everything I needed in one place. The program I teach now has all the training and education that I was looking for earlier, myself.”
Pavloski worked as a BMW dealer technician for many years before making the switch to education. “I didn’t want to leave the dealership, but I really liked the training and knew I wanted to teach. I was always very keen to teach new technicians as they came through our dealership.” His passion for teaching led to an opportunity at MassBay, conducting dealer technician training. From that position, he eventually created his own path to a full-time position in the Automotive Technology associate degree program.
Pavloski is a proud alum of MassBay, having earned his own associate degree while teaching courses. He believes the program at MassBay is really quite unique.
“What we are teaching here is very rare because of the manufacturer-specific sponsorship. We teach an automotive program that is backed by specific manufacturers including BMW, Chrysler, General Motors, and Toyota. If a student wants to get into the automotive industry, and they want to work for one of these specific car manufacturers, we offer a pathway directly into those dealerships.”
Pavloski says the job placement is nearly 100%, crediting the requirement for students to complete a co-op position with a dealership before earning a degree. “If you really think about it, for entry-level technicians just starting out, they are able to enter into the automotive technology industry directly into a high-end BMW dealership. You can’t really get any better than that.”
Pavloski knows that many people would be shocked to learn that the majority of shop foreman and managers in this market are actually MassBay graduates. He’s hoping to help dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding the industry.
“People think you’re just swinging hammers at a car. You’re not really doing that, it’s all network diagnosis.” He goes on to explain that the high level of technology involved in this field means that the curriculum and required skill set is constantly changing. “The cars change. It is absolutely not a program for which you can simply write a curriculum and then just close the book at the end of each year. Every year, we are continuously adjusting the curriculum. The vehicles are always being modified and upgraded. The curriculum is constantly evolving and the certification processes are constantly changing. It’s very labor-intensive. It’s not a conventional degree program.”
One important aspect of the automotive industry that Pavloski promotes to prospective students is that the profession provides very good job security. “Cars break—there’s never a shortage of cars that need repair.”
Pavloski emphasizes that the program at MassBay prepares students to work in the real world. It’s something he feels very proud to be able to pass on to the next generation of automotive workers.
“We are teaching them how to work in an actual automotive dealer environment. We have a fully-functional shop. As part of their training, they perform the exact same work that is done at dealerships, so that when they start their careers, they can work in a fully-operational shop.”
Pavloski has been at MassBay more than a decade and hopes to continue his work at the College for many more years. He is married, with a young daughter. When he’s not working, he enjoys spending time with his family and working with high-performance racing cars.