This is one in a series of Q&As with L2IC instructors, administrators and staff members. Today's profile is with Chris Cornwell, Automotive Collision Repair and Refinishing.
- Years in teaching: 30
- Years in Lexington Two: 9
- Education and career: Graduate of Fairfield Vocational and Midlands Technical College (Airport Campus). First job out of college was with a Chevrolet dealership. First started teaching career at Fairfield Career Center (19 years), then at Heyward Career and Technology Center (2 years) before moving to Lexington Two. I keep up to date on new technology by attending courses in my field. I’m also a member of the Auto-Body Association in South Carolina.
Describe the course(s) you teach.
Cornwell: Teaching collision repair and refinishing is a great way to find young people who want to make a career in this field -- earning I-CAR certifications online and learning the hands-on skills necessary to be successful. We do non-structural sheet metal repair, GMAW (MIG) welding, movable glass replacement, plastic bumper repair, and we use various types of fillers for damaged sheet metal. We finish off with sanding techniques, proper masking, spot repair and overall refinishing; compounding and polishing; customer relations and estimating.
Who should take this course?
Cornwell: Anyone who likes a challenge. No two accidents are the same, and the technology in this field is constantly changing. People with good analytical skills, too, because a vehicle is just a big puzzle that takes a definite skillset to return to pre-accident condition.
What makes this a great career field to consider right now?
Cornwell: The need for qualified technicians is at an all-time high and the pay is great across the board for all areas.
How do you define success?
Cornwell: Success is when my students have exceeded all of my expectations and are happy with their career choices.
What's one thing your students might not know about you?
Cornwell: Before I started teaching, I was truly an introverted individual.
What's the one piece of advice you'd offer to your students?
Cornwell: Life is about learning. Never pass up an opportunity to learn something different everyday.
What else would you like us to know?
Cornwell: I love to see a student after they’ve been struggling with a project to see the light come on when they truly grasp the lesson.