MAYHEW — East Mississippi Community College Automotive Technology/Diesel Mechanics Department Head Dale Henry has been named the Byrl Shoemaker/ASE Industry Education Alliance Instructor of the Year.
Henry, who has taught at EMCC for 12 years, was selected among candidates from all over the U.S. to receive the award, which will be presented during a Nov. 13 banquet sponsored by the National Association for Automotive Service Excellence.
“I was almost speechless,” Henry said of his reaction when he received a phone call informing him of his selection for the award.
Henry is among 52 automotive professionals nationwide who will be recognized during the banquet that will take place at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa. Other award categories include Master Automobile Technician of the Year and Collision Repair & Finish Technician of the year, to name two.
The annual awards are presented to those recognized as “the best of the best” in the automotive industry, according to an ASE press release from last year’s awards banquet.
“Students who graduate from our Automotive Technology program are highly sought after by those in the auto repair industry because of the quality instruction they receive from Dale and his team,” EMCC President Dr. Scott Alsobrooks said. “We couldn’t be more pleased that Dale’s commitment to his students and to his program are being recognized.”
ASE is an independent, non-profit organization that offers testing modules that lead to ASE Certification in 50 areas such as Automobile & Light Truck, Damage Analysis & Estimating, and Engine Machinist, to name a few.
The organization’s certifications are recognized by major automobile manufacturers, which often require automotive technicians pass ASE Certification tests before performing work in a given area.
Henry has earned ASE Certification in Master Automotive, Master Heavy Duty Truck, LT1 Advanced Level Engine Performance Specialist and Maintenance and Light Repair Specialist.
“I have always been heavy on the certification side,” Henry said. “You have to be certified in whatever you are teaching, but I go way above and beyond what is required.”
EMCC’s Automotive Technology program is accredited by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and earlier this year was ranked No. 2 in Trade School Future’s list of Best Automotive Schools in the Southeast.
This year, and the three years prior to that, an EMCC student representing the Automotive Technology/Diesel Mechanics programs has earned a championship title at the National SkillsUSA Championships in which more than 6,000 career technical students from across the U.S. compete. In 11 of the 12 years Henry has taught at EMCC, at least one student from his department has earned a bronze, silver or gold medal at the national championships.
In January 2018, EMCC was among 12 colleges nationwide selected by Toyota Motor Company to participate in the Toyota Technician Education Program, which allows students to obtain official certification from the University of Toyota for training modules they complete. Previously, only Toyota employees could receive certification through the University of Toyota, which is required of technicians who work for the company.
On Oct. 25, Henry’s department will host the Toyota Express Maintenance Contest sponsored by Gulf States Toyota and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation in which two-person teams from high schools across Mississippi compete. EMCC hosted the event in 2017, which was the first time the contest took place outside of Texas.
“Our Automotive Technology program is nationally renowned thanks to Dale’s leadership, dedication and expertise,” EMCC Vice President of Workforce and Community Services Dr. Raj Shaunak said. “He has worked hard to build this program and make it the success it is today.”
Henry is a native of Edinburg, located west of Philadelphia. He attended Leake County Career & Technical Center and earned his post-secondary education at East Central Community College.
After working several years as an automotive technician, he taught at McKellar Technology Center in Columbus for four years before accepting an instructor’s position at EMCC.
Henry is married to Heather, who teaches sixth and seventh grade students at New Hope Middle School. They have two children, Cheyanne and Calisa.
Henry said he is excited about attending the awards banquet.
“I can’t wait to go up there and come back to tell everyone about it,” he said.