For Ryan Ver Mulm, Mike’s Service Garage in Sioux Center is like a second home. The Ver Mulm family has been involved in the Automotive Industry for decades. In fact, Ryan’s parents, Roger and Jill, bought Mike’s Service Garage just before he was born. One could say that becoming an Automotive Mechanic was Ryan’s birthright.
Ryan grew up in a shop environment. For as long as he can remember, he recalls watching and assisting his dad work on various cars and trucks. Ryan graduated from Sioux Center High School in 2010. He graduated early and began working for Roger at their family business, Mike’s Service Garage. Roger was a self-taught mechanic. He never attended formal training, but wanted Ryan to have a different experience. Although Ryan had a lot of on the job training, his goal was to pursue a degree in the Automotive Service Technology program at Northwest Iowa Community College.
Enrolling in NCC’s automotive program was a no-brainer! The Automotive program had a great reputation; NCC was close to home; enrolling there allowed him to continue working in the family business, and allowed him to save money, both by living at home and through the affordable tuition rates. Ryan began the program in the fall of 2010.
Ryan thoroughly enjoyed the program and had a great experience at NCC. One huge benefit for NCC automotive students is the opportunity to work on real vehicles. The vehicles they perform work on have real owners and issues, unlike other programs that work only on trainers or mock-ups. Ryan appreciated the variety of hands-on experiences throughout his time in the program. He credits his instructors and automotive courses for giving him the extra knowledge and experiences he needed to be successful in the field.
At the time Ryan went through the program, Automotive Service Technology students had an option to pursue one additional year of education to obtain a degree in Diesel Technology. Watching his dad work on trucks for many years actually reinforced Ryan’s disinterest in it. The heavy and dirty work did not appeal to Ryan and he knew he wanted to stick with cars. Ryan is thankful that his dad and other mechanics have the desire to work on trucks and heavy machinery as his passion his cars.
Ryan graduated from the Automotive Service Technology program in July of 2012 and began working full-time as an Auto Mechanic Specialist at Mike’s Service Garage. Mike’s Service Garage offers a comprehensive list of services and their specialists are skilled in a variety of areas. A typical day for Ryan includes a variety of tasks ranging from preparing estimates, completing invoices, scheduling jobs, performing oil changes, brakes & chassis work, light services, transmission work and more. Oftentimes, Ryan is found working on a larger project, such as an engine or transmission replacement. All of the Auto Mechanic Specialists at Mike’s Service Garage are cross-trained in a variety of skills. This allows them to work on a wide range of projects and provides a diverse schedule for each.
Although it keeps him busy, working full-time as an Auto Mechanic Specialist doesn’t give Ryan his fill for working on cars. He spends many evenings and weekends in the shop fixing up vehicles. Ryan considers this his hobby. He loves to buy vehicles that have potential, fix them up and get them back on the road again.
Ryan said, “My favorite part about being an auto mechanic specialist is taking a vehicle that drives horribly, fixing it and taking it out for that first, smooth test drive. I also find it very fulfilling to assist customers that are passing through the area and getting them back on the road. Oftentimes our schedules are full, but a customer will come in with an issue that needs immediate attention. It is gratifying to help people in these situations and know how much they appreciate the job you did.”
An automotive shop is clearly where Ryan is destined to be and he hopes to stay immersed in the automotive industry for years to come. He loves being an auto mechanic specialist at Mike’s Service Garage, and credits his family history in the industry and his NCC Automotive Instructors for helping him get to where he is today. Ryan shared, “The services that NCC provided to me gave me the knowledge and skills I needed to be successful in the automotive industry, and I hope to use my skills to provide the best service to my customers for years to come.”
Ryan’s success is our story!