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Chris Simper

Auto instructor helps grads land jobs

Chris Simper, head of RCC’s Automotive Technology department, readily shares his expertise and enthusiasm about computer technology with students, says John Toth.

“Chris is really good about keeping up to date with new technology. He’s passionate about this information,” said Toth, who graduates this spring from Rogue.

“He’s excited, so it makes even easier for us to get excited. He gives the information to us with a lot of energy. If it’s got a processor in it, Chris knows about it.”

Before joining RCC’s faculty in 1997, Simper worked with several regional auto dealerships. His industry connections have resulted in numerous donations of vehicles, equipment, and “loaned” instructors. Those ties have also helped many RCC grads obtain employment with area dealers and repair shops.

Simper has earned certification from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence as a master technician and an advanced engine performance specialist.

John TothAutomotive student lands job upon graduation

John Toth has done so well during his on-the-job training at Roe Motors that he’s been offered a full-time technician position when he graduates from Rogue Community College this spring.

“John has a great attitude; he’s open and willing to take instruction,” said Zach Hodapp, service manager at the Grants Pass dealership. “He has interest and passion. and he’s not afraid to jump right in. That’s why he’s such a good student and will make a good technician.”

Toth, a student in RCC’s Automotive Technology program, has compiled a 4.0 GPA at the college. He got connected with Roe through a placement in Rogue’s Cooperative Work Experience program. CWE provides students opportunities for hands-on learning in their career area and enhances classroom studies. It’s also a great way to earn college credit for practical experience gained on a worksite

“We’ve had CWE students at Roe for over 10 years, and John’s one of best we’ve ever had,” Hodapp said. “RCC’s automotive program does a good job preparing technicians. CWE gives us a chance to screen potential employees and also be part of the learning process and give back to help up-and-coming mechanics,” he explained. “It’s also a chance for students to re-evaluate if this career really is a good fit.”

For Toth, the fit is right. He was drawn to RCC’s program by his lifelong interest in tinkering with engines.

“I grew up working on cars with my dad and grandfather,” he said. “I love doing it.”

Originally from southern California, Toth worked in construction and had been a trainer for a telemarketing company in Medford. He had never attended college before enrolling at RCC, where he found his automotive instructors supportive and well informed.

“The teachers are really good at making sure everybody understands and gets a chance for hands-on experience,” Toth said. Department head Chris Simper, in particular, helped Toth fill gaps in his knowledge about computer technology.

“Chris is really good about keeping up to date with new technology,” Toth said. “He’s passionate about this information. He’s excited, so it makes it even easier for the students to get excited,” Toth continued. “He gives the information to us with a lot of energy. If it’s got a processor in it, Chris knows about it.”

Toth’s experience at Roe has given him the opportunity to see what happens in a real shop and learn about such things as time expectations.

“You have to get the job done right and as fast as possible,” Toth said, who was relieved to have been hired at Roe Motors. “This is one of the best things that’s ever happened to me – the hard work is paying off,” he added. “I’ve always liked working on cars and I’ve always wanted to be that person whose job makes them happy, not just pays the bills. That’s what I’ve always been looking for.”

Toth and his wife have two sons, 3 and 4, and a baby girl on the way.

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