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NMJCs Ford ASSET Program Celebrates Class of 2008

NMJCs Ford ASSET Program Celebrates Class of 2008 photo 5/22/2008 8:58:51 a.m. - Hobbs, NM. On Friday, May 9, the Ford ASSET (Automotive Student Service Education Training) program at New Mexico Junior College celebrated the graduation of nine student technicians with a luncheon in the Ben Alexander Student Learning Center.

Dr. Mary Jane Ward, Dean of Careers & Technology, expressed her appreciation for a "great year" with this group of graduates, as well as their sponsoring dealerships and advisory board. She explained to the approximately 115 students, faculty, and guests in attendance that with traditional college graduates, there is no way of knowing exactly how they will do after college in "real life," but with the Ford ASSET grads, everyone already knows -- since they've been working in dealerships all along while earning their degrees.

President Steve McCleery congratulated graduates on the education they received, calling it "the most dynamic anywhere," since Ford constantly updates the curriculum, retrains the instructors on an ongoing basis, and sends advisory groups, who are experts in state-of-the-industry automotive technology, to conduct site visits and analyze and update the entire program as needed. McCleery assured the graduates that the program they had just completed is "the best educational model in the world."

After congratulating the nine young men for their accomplishments, Ford ASSET professor/instructor Dr. Randy Whicker shared praise offered by NMJC faculty, who collectively agreed that these automotive grads constituted "one of the best groups ever."

In celebrating the individual accomplishments of the graduates of 2008, Whicker presented an ASSET diploma and ASSET Graduate Watch to each student. In turn, each graduate then presented a gift to the lead technician who had served as his mentor and role model at the area dealership at which he'd worked. A special recognition was awarded to NMJC Board member Pat Chappelle, in appreciation for her ongoing support of the program and students.

The most poignant award of the event, however, was presented to Sharon Harrison, wife of the late John Harrison, well-respected member and chair of the ASSET advisory committee. Harrison, who passed away last June, had committed 17 years of service (1990-2007) to implementing numerous positive changes in the program and had been instrumental in establishing an endowment scholarship. After announcing that the endowment scholarship has been named in honor of Harrison, Whicker presented a plaque to Sharon Harrison that is identical to one that will hang in a place of honor in the Don Whitaker Automotive Technology Center. The plaque reads:

for the
Ford ASSET Program
named in honor of
in grateful appreciation for 17 years of service on the
New Mexico Junior College
Ford ASSET Advisory Board

Through John's dedication to excellence in the education of automotive technicians,
many positive changes were implemented. He was instrumental in establishing
this scholarship fund, which will assist future generations in furthering
their career goals in the automotive industry.

The Ford ASSET graduates of 2008 are as follows:
John C. Abeyta III of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Son of John C. Abeyta, Jr., and Edie Abeyta. Sponsoring dealership: Phil Long Ford, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Supervisor: Ernie Lanning. Technician: David Crutchfield.

Jakob Brown of Odessa, Texas. Son of Tammy Brown and Mike Brown. Sponsoring dealership: Sewell Ford, Odessa, Texas. Supervisor: Scott Mathson. Technician: Rudy Portillo.

Abel Cazares of Farmington, New Mexico. Son of Abel and Carmen Cazares. Sponsoring dealership: Ziems Ford Corners, Farmington, New Mexico. Supervisor: Rick Nelson. Technician: Roy Valdez.

Steven Dunlap of Odessa, Texas. Son of Louise Dunlap and Sterling Dunlap. Sponsoring dealership: Sewell Ford, Odessa, Texas. Supervisor: Scott Mathson. Technician: Randy Rice.

Fred Frazier of Lemitar, New Mexico. Son of Kim Frazier and Trey Frazier. Sponsoring dealership: Monette Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, Socorro, New Mexico. Supervisor: Darren Monette. Technician: Johnny Valenzuela.

Roberto C. Gonzalez of Hagerman, New Mexico. Son of Jose C. Gonzalez and Valentina Gonzalez. Sponsoring dealership: Artesia Ford-Mercury, Artesia, New Mexico. Supervisor: Bobby Williams.

George Guerra of Anthony, New Mexico. Son of Patricia Villalobos. Sponsoring dealership: Borman Autoplex, Las Cruces, New Mexico. Supervisor: Doug Quillen.

Thomas Hoecker of Plains, Texas. Husband of Monica Hoecker, father of Karina, Joshua, and Rhea Hoecker. Sponsoring dealership: Permian Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, Hobbs, New Mexico. Supervisor: Troy Raulston.

Daniel Reyes of Eunice, New Mexico. Son of Gonzalo Reyes and Maria Reyes. Sponsoring dealership: Permian Ford-Lincoln-Mercury, Hobbs, New Mexico. Supervisor: Troy Raulston. Technician: Miguel Orozco.

The Ford ASSET Award of Excellence went to graduate Fred Frazier. Criteria for receiving the award included 1) a 3.6 GPA or higher; 2) academic excellence; 3) professionalism; 4) leadership on- and off-campus; 5) technical competence; and 6) employer recommendation. According to Whicker, Frazier met all criteria and was an outstanding example of a Ford ASSET student technician.

For more information about the Ford ASSET program, please contact Dr. Randy Whicker at or (575) 492-2865.

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