GTCC teaches Jerri Evans to pamper your car, inside and out

Published on: May 25, 2022
Jerri Evans is back in the classroom at GTCC pursuing a degree in automotive systems technology.
Jerri Evans is back in the classroom at GTCC pursuing a degree in automotive systems technology.

After Jerri Evans received her bachelor's degree in criminal justice and began searching for a job, she faced a rude awakening.

"I did internships and applied for jobs in the field, but there was no flexibility, and that wasn't my thing," Evans said. "And of course, everyone wanted folks with experience, and I had just gotten out of college and didn't have any."

Over a decade later, Evans is back in the classroom, this time at Guilford Technical Community College pursuing a degree in automotive systems technology. And the Winston-Salem resident doesn't have to worry about a job search. She will be her own boss.

For the past eight years Evans has worked full-time at an airline call center. For much of that time she also operated a mobile car-detailing business servicing about 10 automobiles during her off-days each week.

"I'm low-key OCD. I've always cleaned my own cars," Evans said. "I'd wake up on Saturdays, clean the house, then the cars. I did mine and my family's cars, and then I thought, 'why not have my own business?'"

This business grew until it was a full-time venture for the 33-year-old Evans. It grew to the point where she needed a building to work out of, but to afford the lease on a building, she needed to expand her business.

That's when GTCC entered the picture.

"I ended up here because I needed to add more services. I wanted to add a quick lube and service," Evans said.

Evans began the automotive systems technology program at GTCC in the fall of 2020 and will graduate this month. Because of an unfortunate episode last fall, she will have one class to complete after graduation.

"I fell down the steps at work last fall and broke my right ankle. That caused me to miss all the advanced electrical classes, so I have to come back in the fall for that."

She understands the importance of electrical systems knowledge for today's auto repair and wanted to make sure she could put total focus on the advanced electrical class.

"Electrical and wiring can be complicated. Technology is what makes the electrical so hard. You can't take any short cuts on these newer model cars. You definitely have to follow the service plan," Evans said.

Evans is in class four hours a day, five days a week. She says that time is split fairly evenly between the classroom and hands-on work in the lab.

"It's not like we're sitting there listening to someone talk, talk, talk all the time. I'm a listening learner, but I'm a hands-on learner, too."

Evans has long done basic service to her cars, but when she was considering the next step of adding auto service to her business, she knew she needed to expand that knowledge.

"I knew certain stuff… I had been doing my own oil changes, but breaking down a transmission, changing brake drums, things like that, I had no idea," said Evans, who will hire other service technicians to help in her business.

Evans quickly noticed she was the only female in most of her classes, but that never presented a problem.

"When I started, it was my mindset that I can do all this work. All the guys have been great and supportive of me."

In the end, she believes being a female will be a boost to her business.

"That's how my detail business took off, women detailing cars draws attention," Evans said.

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