Ingrid Simeon was part of the first Diesel Technician class at New Community Career & Technical Institute (NCCTI). Upon graduation in 2019, she secured a job as an entry level technician at HFI Truck Center in Mountainside, an Isuzu dealership and repair facility.
Simeon went on a tour of HFI Truck Center with her class and made an impression.
“What I noticed right away about Ingrid is that she has the desire to learn,” said HFI Truck Center Service Manager Tim Brennan. “We could use three more people like Ingrid.”
Simeon enjoys working at HFI Truck Center. While she said it can be a little intimidating being the only female technician, she has found her coworkers are helpful and work together as a team.
“You learn something new every day. It’s always something different. So it’s never the same thing. That’s what’s good about it,” Simeon said.
Simeon is an Essex County resident who attended an open house at NCCTI before enrolling in the Diesel Technician program. She was always interested in cars and when she learned about the school’s Diesel Technician program, she decided to pursue a career in that area. It’s a decision she is happy with.
“I love this field,” she said.
Simeon is the type of student NCCTI likes to have. She was serious about her studies and starting her career.
“We are extremely proud of Ingrid. She’s a living testament to what hard work, perseverance and a commitment to success looks like,” said NCCTI Director Rodney Brutton. “Ingrid, while completing her studies at NCCTI, held an overnight job but still maintained excellent attendance and gained the technical skills that enabled her to have the opportunity at HFI Truck Center.”
The relationship between NCCTI and HFI Truck Center is relatively new. It started with an online search. Brennan took a trip to a training center in Maplewood that he didn’t know had closed. Since he was already out, he searched online for a nearby facility and found NCCTI. He drove to the NCCTI Training Center at 210 West Bigelow St., Newark, and liked what he saw.
“I drove there and I walked into the shop and realized it’s a clean, nice environment and like a working shop. Everybody there was great,” Brennan said. “That’s where it started.”
Brennan invited the Diesel Technician class to HFI Truck Center so students could see the operation and get a sense of a real world facility. That’s when he first met Simeon.
HFI Truck Center Service Advisor Myshka Simeus was the first one to notice Simeon during the class visit and pointed her out to Brennan. Simeon said having another female on the staff, even though she wasn’t directly working on vehicles, provided some comfort.
While Simeus doesn’t currently work on vehicles, she has a background in all aspects. She hopes more females enter the field, which tends to be male dominated.
“I’ve worked in parts department, service, working on cars, warranty administrator, everything. For Ingrid and possibly other females who want to get in the field, they shouldn’t shy away from it because of misconceptions that they may have,” Simeus said. “They need to just jump into it.”
Because of the positive experience with Simeon, Brennan said he looks forward to working more with NCCTI and hiring additional students, both from the Diesel Technician and Automotive Technician programs.
“We extend thanks to Tim and his team at HFI Truck Center for partnering with NCCTI and creating the opportunity for Ingrid,” Brutton said. “Our success is based on employer partners and we’re proud to have a relationship with HFI Truck Center.”
HFI Truck Center is well established in the industry. It has been in operation for 90 years, first in Union and then moving to its current Mountainside location in the 1940s. It is a family run business that focuses on customer service and has a “one repair at a time” mentality.
The diesel field is in great need of technicians, particularly in New Jersey which is a main port.
“I tell all the new people that come in, I say, once your value increases, we need you. You don’t need us,” Brennan said. “And that’s the truth.”
NCCTI is an accredited post-secondary career and technical institution that offers the following programs: Automotive Technician, Diesel Technician, Building Trades Specialist, Clinical Medical Assistant, Patient Care Technician, Community Healthcare Worker, Culinary Arts Specialist and Business and Computer Technologies. NCCTI also operates a comprehensive Financial Opportunity Center and Bridges to Career Opportunities Program sponsored by the local and national Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) offices. For more information, call 973-824-6484, log onto newcommunitytech.edu or visit 274 South Orange Ave., Newark.