Degrees and Certifications:
Mr. Robert Whaley
I got involved in the autobody industry in 1983 through a friend of mine who did it for a living. When I got my driver's license, I got a job with Triple-A Body Works in Jacksonville, cleaning the shop and washing cars after school and full time in the summer. I hadn't planned on doing this for a future career, but as time went on, some of the technicians would work with me and I eventually learned how to sand and prep a vehicle for painting. I worked there for a couple of years and after high school graduation, unsure of my career path, I took general classes at Coastal Carolina Community College for the first year. I decided to take the autobody course at Coastal, a one-year course, and my previous experience was a huge benefit to me taking this class. While taking this class, we had a guest speaker come talk to the class from Marine Chevrolet, the body shop manager, Ray Duff. I eventually got hired by Marine Chevrolet while still in Coastal and worked there for a total of 25 years. I worked at a few other shops before going full-time at my own shop. When I saw the opportunity to become the Collision & Refinishing Technology instructor here at the Eastern North Carolina Regional Skills Center, I jumped at the chance. I have just finished my third year as an instructor and looking forward to beginning this school year. The industry has changed so much since I began my career and it's constantly changing every day. Students can leave my course with the opportunity to earn two credentials, Platinum Pro-Level I Non-Structural Repair credential and Platinum Pro-Level I Refinishing credential, through I-CAR, the industry standard for training collision repair and refinishing technicians used in all major collision shops. I also have ties to some of the local shops in the Jacksonville area. Collision repair and refinishing is not only a lucrative career, it's a very exciting and rewarding career. When you're able to take a damaged vehicle and bring it back to its pre-accident condition, it is something you can see and take pride in. Just knowing what you have accomplished and knowing your name is on it makes you want to do your very best every day.