CCCC Automotive Restoration student wins 2023 FutureTechs Rock Awards Restoration Category
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Tyler Renken of Bunnlevel, an Automotive Restoration student at Central Carolina Community College, ... (more)
SANFORD - Tyler Renken of Bunnlevel, an Automotive Restoration student at Central Carolina Community College, has won the Restoration Category of the TechForce Foundation's 2023 FutureTechs Rock Awards.
Renken - a U.S. Army veteran -- was nominated for this award by CCCC Automotive Restoration Instructor Kiel Rhodes
"I first met Tyler when he came to tour my Automotive Restoration program at Central Carolina Community College. At the time, Tyler was finishing up his final year ... as an Army combat medic in the 82nd Airborne," said Rhodes.
"Even though he couldn't start classes at that time, he attended all of our evening Tech Night events and was eager to learn all that he could. Tyler's passion for all things automotive started as a kid attending car shows with his father and helping in the garage while they worked on his father's car collection. In high school, Tyler purchased a 1975 Chevy Camaro and spent many evenings and hard earned cash fixing it up."
Before joining the Army, Renken attended business school in pursuit of his dream of owning his own restoration/custom shop. After four years and multiple tours as a combat medic, Renken returned to civilian life and a renewed pursuit of his dream of owning his own shop and enrolled in the restoration program at CCCC.
Renken has eagerly pursued his technician training - and works three nights a week at a world-known restoration shop.
Renken contributes in many ways at school and in his community, modeling what leadership in the trade should be. He volunteers with school events and gives a helping hand on other students' projects.
"In class we often watch Jay Leno's garage videos and after hearing about his accident, Tyler took the lead on a special get well soon project that was sent to Jay Leno and it's now hanging in Jay's garage," said Rhodes. "That just shows Tyler's character and comradery for his fellow man and fellow car enthusiasts."
Renken also helps the young kids in his neighborhood to build an appreciation for learning the trades. He offers to fix the problem and show the kids how to fix it themselves in the future, and in doing so inspires the next generation of restorers.
On top of work, school and family commitments and in true car enthusiast fashion, Renken has not one but two restoration projects of his own -- a 1973 Z28 Camaro and a 1970 C10 Chevy truck.
Renken says the next step in achieving his dream is to graduate with a Diploma in Automotive Restoration and work at a reputable shop. His dream includes owning a hot rod and custom shop.
"I already teach some of the kids in my neighborhood about basic things. It's great to help them fix their bike, or teach them how to use basic tools to build something. I fell in love with teaching as a medic in the Army," he said. "My goal after the business and hopefully all the car builds to come is to make it to a day where I can give back by becoming a shop teacher. Either that or starting a camp or program that focuses on building some type of car and then racing it at a local track."
In the Central Carolina Community College Automotive Restoration program, students receive extensive hands-on training in a variety of subjects such as metal working, fabrication, painting, upholstery, electrical systems, engines, wood working, and welding. Students also receive instruction on the historical significance of vehicle designs and structure. These skills can be used not only in restoration, but also in numerous other fields such as aviation and fabrication. Restoring classic vehicles involves problem solving, planning, and artistry - skills that also can be used in many other careers.
Learn more about the CCCC Automotive Restoration program by visiting www.cccc.edu/curriculum/majors/automotiverestoration.
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