A continuation from Part 1 of my interview with CCBC's Comprehensive Automotive Program Coordinator, James DeAngelis.
What got you passionate about cars?
I’ve had a passion for anything that goes since I was little. Aircraft, ships, tanks, you name it. But cars were the most accessible, so they’re what I’ve developed the most attachment to.
Tell me the worst mistake you every made when working on a car?
Wow, I really don’t know… there have been one or two doozies. The worst occurred when I was still rather young, 14, and working on an old truck my father had bought for us to work on together. Not really knowing what I was doing, I attempted to rebuild the carburetor one summer afternoon. After reinstalling it and attempting to start the truck, the engine caught fire… right in our carport! I obviously had gotten something very wrong that day! Of course, that only fueled my curiosity and “need to know”.
What’s the biggest mistake you made when teaching a class?
Hmm… this answer could go one of several ways… If you’re asking about a technical flub, I’ve had my share of small ones, but nothing major. If you are asking about classroom management, then I would say my tendency to travel down “bunny trails” allows me to get significantly off-track occasionally.
What suggestions or advice do you have for someone considering taking automotive classes?
Reflect on what you want out of the classes, first. These classes are not for the casual student. Given the 8 week condensed schedule, the pace is very fast, the work load is heavy, and there is an extraordinary amount of information to process and retain. If working on cars and light trucks is your passion, then you will excel in these classes with little effort. We want the students that really want to learn, to be part of this industry. If you don’t think this is the path you want to take in your life, then we want you to follow your heart, and do what you love. We’re not worried about recruiting… we want the students to find their best fit, so they can excel.
If I don’t have a clue when it comes to cars but really want to learn and become a technician, is CCBC’s program for me?
I would say no, not just yet. Our programs are designed to continue the education and training of students with some basic knowledge. If the technical knowledge gained from some periodicals and television shows is enough to whet your appetite for serious automotive training, then our programs might be for you.
What would you say if someone is unsure if an automotive career is for them? Are the classes a good place to find out whether an automotive career is a good path?
Possibly. I’m asked this question often, and its one of the most difficult for me to answer. First, I tell all prospective students to think about what they really want out of life. Think about what they have a passion for, what drives them. If the answer is automobiles, then this may be a good place to start.
Is there anything you wish the college would do differently with the automotive programs?
There’s always room for improvement in anything. One of the great things about the college is their willingness to look at any proposal to improve the quality of instruction. Our department chair is very open to any suggestion the instructors have about improvements to the programs. As a department, we constantly evaluate new methods, approaches, tools and equipment that may offer any advantage to us or the students.
How could teachers, administrators, and students make your job easier?
Oh, what a dubious question… Short of a sudden development of Utopia, where nothing goes wrong and everyone does more than is expected, I don’t think there is much that could or should be done drastically differently. Teachers instruct, administrators manage, and students learn. As long as each of these persons do these to the best of their abilities, I’m a happy camper.
With some of the newer car technology coming out, like electric cars, how do you and the program coordinators plan to handle the coming changes in technology?
We constantly work with the industry and other schools, thru initiatives like the Alternate Fuel Foundation, to ensure we have the most current information and applicable technology. We are one of the first locations, within Maryland, to have recharging stations capable of accommodating the newest electric vehicles from GM, Nissan, Th!nk and others. We incorporated hybrid vehicle training into our curriculum as the technology became available to us. We had been one of a few east coast training sites for CNG and LPG vehicles. Basically, as the technology matures from the research stage to retail, we position ourselves to incorporate the most relative training, as quickly as possible.
If someone is interested in more information or signing up for classes, who should they contact?
I am the point of contact for the Comprehensive and Collision Repair programs, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-840-5982
Tony Prescott is the point of contact for the Ford ASSET program, and can be reached at email@example.com or 443-840-
Jack Davis is the point of contact for the GM ASEP program, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-840-
George Pattee is the point of contact for the Toyota T-TEN program, and can be reached at email@example.com or 443-840-
Bob Lupini is the point of contact for the Diesel Equipment program, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-840-
If you’re not sure what program you might be interested in, contact Anita Burton at email@example.com or 443-840- , and she help direct you to the correct person.
Where do you see CCBC’s automotive program in the next 5 years, 10 years, and beyond that?
I try not to box myself in with finite visions of what could or should be. The automotive industry is on the cusp of some significant changes, as is the world’s ability to supply energy. Not being fully sure what direction the industry will head, all I can say is that CCBC will respond to the industry’s, community’s and students’ needs as quickly and competently as possible.
What’s your “Dream Car?”
Oh, wow… too many to list!! As a tried-and-true car guy, I don’t have just one!!
From a classic performance standpoint, a DeTomaso Pantera GTS, Ford GT, FIA 289 Cobra.
Uniquness; Renault R5 Turbo, Ford Festiva SHOGUN, Kaiser Darrin, Crosley Hot Shot, a first-year Avanti, 1963 Chrysler turbine car.
Historic significance; A Hupmobile, Duryea, Detroit Electric, maybe a 30’s Franklin or Pierce Arrow, a 30’s Packard, and definitely a Ford 1903 model A.
Racing vehicles; any Chapparell, a 60’s Gurney-Eagle Indy car, the Howmett Turbine car.
Now, what I can actually obtain? I have my first car love right now; a 1964 ½ Ford Mustang coupe that I restored myself. I’m an active participant in the Mustang Club of Maryland, and enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow Mustang enthusiasts.
What Vehicles do you own?
1990 and 93 Ford Festiva
64 1.2 Mustang Coupe Restored (Power Steering, 4 wheel drum factory, 260 V-8)
67 Mustang Convertible (needs restoration)
69 Falcon Sport Coupe
69 Ford LTD Coupe
88 Mazda 323 (daily driver)
2000 Yamaha V-Star 1100 (rode across the country)
1980 Yamaha XS 650 (restoration almost complete)
1983 Yamaha XS 650 (needs restoration)
Ok, seriously what’s the deal with the Festivas? How did this start? Everyone wants to know!
I was commuting 75 miles, 1 way. I needed a fuel efficient car, to keep my good car (04 mustang) from racking up mileage. I found an 88 Festiva for Free under an Oak Tree, almost ready to go to the junkyard. It was Terry Wolfe’s sister in laws car for 8 years, it had running issues and she wanted a new vehicle. My motto is “If it’s for Free it’s for Me” I drove this sad little car home. Went over car front to back, repaired the problem with the carburetor. Started up ran like a top, even on 4-year old gas! Started driving it and realized it was street legal go-cart! It was plan fun to drive, and it has a certain charm and attraction. Not everyone appreciates it. A motorcycle saying: “It’s more fun to ride a slow bike fast, then it its ride a fast bike slow.”
You can visit http://www.ccbcmd.edu/ for more information on registering and signing up for classes at the college.