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From here, go to work as an automotive technician and business owner

Horace Linton used to tinker on cars. After graduating from Tidewater Community College, he turned the hobby into a career. “I was actually able to see what it means that education is key because it can help you secure your employment and earnings and then supply your dreams, whether it be the white picket fence or a cruise,” said the Virginia Beach resident, who earned an automotive degree.

Drive your future: In today’s busy world of work, family and leisure activities, reliable transportation is essential. With vehicles becoming more complex with advanced technology and dozens of computer systems in every car and truck, skilled technicians are in high demand by dealerships and local repair shops.

The degree: TCC prepares you to become a technician in the automotive industry or provides updated training if you’re already working in the field. Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology in the general program or specialize in a manufacturer-specific programs from Fiat Chrysler, Ford, Honda, Toyota and Subaru.

Every program enables you to become an Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certified technician in automotive chassis systems, automotive electronics, powertrains and engine performance.

Meet a TCC alum and automotive technology faculty member: Linton immigrated to the states from Jamaica in 1996. He came for the educational opportunities and a better future.

“At TCC you learn the science behind what you are doing and get a firm foundation for the future,” Linton said.

Linton graduated with his automotive associate degree and returned to TCC to earn his Associate of Science in Business Administration. He started his own automotive business after working as an ASE master technician in a variety of locations from Kramer Tire to Checkered Flag Audi and Porsche.

Linton owns a booming family business and works alongside his brother, mom and dad, while also employing other technicians. He specializes in wheel and rim repair, while also offering full-service automotive repair.

Students in the PTTC
Students in the Priority Technical Training Center came into the program with little knowledge, and will leave knowing how to diagnose problems and complete repairs.

Paying it forward: Linton is helping the next generation of technicians prepare for work in the field. He began teaching at TCC’s Regional Automotive Center in 2016 and now instructs students through the Priority Technical Training Center in Chesapeake, funded by Priority Automotive and designed to give nonviolent offenders from the Norfolk jail training for jobs as auto technicians.

Built and funded entirely by Priority, the state-of-the-art training center opens as dealerships across the country scramble to find highly skilled auto technicians to service vehicles that grow more technologically advanced by the day.

“When these students started they didn’t know anything about cars. Now I’m confident that they can do repairs properly,” Linton said. “I like the unique challenge of this program and enjoy mentoring my students and showing them another way of doing things. I feel like I’m making a real difference.”

Interested? For information about TCC’s Automotive Technology programs, contact Beno Rubin at or call 757-822-5000.

Honda PACT student’s memory lives on with completed project car and scholarship fund

Jordan McNair

Jordan McNair is fondly remembered as the “little brother” by his classmates in the Honda Professional Automotive Career Training (PACT) program at Tidewater Community College’s Regional Automotive Center.

McNair received his Career Studies Certificate in Automotive Chassis Systems posthumously after a fatal automobile accident ended his life in August 2017.

His parents, Dexter McNair and Paula Borchert, accepted his certificate following a standing ovation from his classmates.

Jordan McNair’s parents, Dexter McNair and Paula Borchert (center) , accept his certificate during a standing ovation from classmates.

Before his death, McNair and his classmates were working to restore his project car, a 2000 Honda Civic, which was flooded during Hurricane Matthew. The group worked nights and weekends, gaining hands-on skills as they fixed the car.

They started by swapping the engine and turning the car from an automatic transmission to a manual one. From there, they worked on systems including the brakes, air bags, fuel lines, the suspension and some wiring issues related to the flood damage.

“Jordan found his passion when he enrolled at TCC. It was the happiest and most focused I’d ever seen him,” Borchert said. “He and his classmates were full speed ahead working diligently at our home – rain – cold – it didn’t matter. They were determined to get his car going.”

After McNair’s passing, his classmates continued to restore the project car, spending their own time and money to buy parts and complete the project.

“This car represents his evolution – like Jordan it was a diamond in the rough,” said classmate Dominique Martin.

“We decided to finish the car for his family, as a reminder of his life’s passion. It was a little rough to keep going in the beginning, but doing this was a help, too,” added classmate Demetrio Gallegos.

The restored Honda is unveiled to family and friends at the college's Regional Automotive Center.
The restored Honda is unveiled to family and friends at the college’s Regional Automotive Center.

“For me working on the car was a learning experience. Jordan and I were teammates, doing the lab work together in class. It felt right for me to be there to help see this project through,” added Damien Rose.

The car looks new with lustrous black paint and orange accents.

Honda PACT instructor David Lee has been part of the project, providing his time and expertise to the work. “This was Jordan’s calling,” he said. “You could really see his focus intensify once he started working at Priority Honda. I’m really proud of how we all came together for this family.”

TCC Collision Repair students also worked on Jordan’s Honda.

Priority Automotive’s announcement of the Jordan McNair Memorial Honda PACT scholarship through the TCC Educational Foundation was a surprise at commencement. The $12,000 scholarship will cover half the cost of tuition for two students in the Honda PACT program for two years.

 “Jordan would be doing backflips if he could see the car now,” Borchert said. “Our family will be eternally grateful for the sacrifice and love shown by his classmates and instructors.”

Dexter McNair added, “One of his favorite sayings was ‘run it.’ And I know with this car, he would be saying it’s time; let’s ‘run it.’”

A celebration of multiple firsts and a memorial for a special grad part of TCC’s spring commencement

During a Saturday afternoon of milestones and remembrances, Tidewater Community College celebrated the spring class of 2018 at its 66th Commencement Exercises.

In addition to more than 700 graduates walking in the ceremony at the Ted Constant Convocation Center, TCC President Edna V. Baehre-Kolovani recognized the following milestones:

  • Four graduates, Brandi Porter, Gabrielle Hutchings, Jaylyn Richard and Jay Sellers, received the Governor’s Medallion, given to four teenagers who completed associate degrees while still in high school.
  • Alexis Spangler and Xiaomin Chen, are the inaugural students to graduate through the Women’s Center’s STEM Promise Program, which provides full scholarships to students pursuing STEM degrees at TCC. Each earned an Associate of Science of Engineering.
  • Another first: Christopher Newbill and Alyssa Shepherd, both Wilson High School seniors, became the first high school students to earn Career Studies Certificates in Maritime Welding.
  • Emma Tracy became the first recipient of the Associate of Fine Arts in Music.
  • Finally, five students from Chesapeake Public high schools, Zachary Booker, Hunter Edward, Brandon Halloran, Christian Keifer and Jalem Wilson, became the first recipients of the Career Studies Certificate in Electrical Wiring for Technicians.
Student speaker Tony Sawyer and President Kolovani at TCC's 66th Commencement Exercises.
Student speaker Tony Sawyer and President Kolovani at Commencement.

Keynote speaker Cheryl Turpin, an educator elected last fall to Virginia’s House of Delegates, encouraged the students to keep learning regardless of age.

“No matter your age, I see nothing but young minds when I look out to this crowd,” said the longtime science teacher.

Turpin’s journey has taken her from science teacher at Cox High School to the cover of Time magazine the week after she was elected to the House of Delegates. “If you follow your passions, you can achieve what you dream,” she said.

Student speaker Tony Sawyer, previously a high school dropout, talked about finding the desire to succeed at TCC thanks to the support he received. He graduated with an Associate of Science in Social Sciences.

“Education required a lot of sacrifices, but the lessons learned have been worth it,” said Sawyer, on the President’s List every semester at TCC and bound for Old Dominion University. “Today’s success is not an ending point. Let us apply the knowledge we’ve learned to make a difference.

Jordan McNair's classmates and President Kolovani on stage at Commencement.
Jordan McNair’s classmates at Commencement.

“As a former 16-year-old dropout, who is now a 49-year-old TCC graduate and attending the ODU honors college in the fall, I currently experience a new freedom from this education I no longer thought was possible,” he said.

During the conferring of degrees, Jordan McNair was awarded a posthumous Career Studies Certificate in Automotive Chassis Systems. McNair, a student at TCC’s Regional Automotive Center, died in a car accident last August. He was 20 years old.

Jordan McNair's parents, (center) Dexter McNair and Paula Borchert, accept his certificate during a standing ovation from classmates.
Jordan McNair’s parents, (center) Dexter McNair and Paula Borchert, accept his certificate during a standing ovation from classmates.

McNair’s family received an inspiring standing ovation from the graduates. His classmates, who finished restoring his project car, a 2000 Honda Civic, presented his family with his certificate.

Priority Automotive’s Jim Rose, McNair’s employer, also announced a new $12,000 scholarship, the Jordan McNair Memorial Honda PACT Scholarship, sponsored by the dealership. The scholarship will assist second-year TCC students enrolled in the Honda PACT program.

TCC’s alumni base of more than 100,000 continues to grow with the addition of the 1,500 graduates who are part of the class of 2018.