Skip Navigation

Degree or certificate program at CLC: A.A.S., automotive technology; planning to graduate in 2016.

Hometown: Waukegan

Occupation: Fleet coordinator for the City of North Chicago.

High school: Graduated from Zion-Benton in 2008.

Interests and hobbies: Working on cars; marksmanship.

Luis Bettasso

At the City of North Chicago, I manage 100 vehicles ranging from squad cars to plow trucks. When I first started six years ago, I was the guy who washed squad cars. Since then, I’ve grown, and it has a lot to do with CLC. In my current job, I assist with purchasing vehicles, performing minor repairs, coordinating striping and emergency lights, taking the cars to be serviced and training employees on new equipment.

I chose CLC because the automotive technology program was highly recommended by technicians at a Zion auto repair shop where I used to work. Some of them completed CLC’s program and said it’s phenomenal, and I agree. I’m happy here. The program has smaller class sizes than at competing schools. That’s really important, because in labs, we have only a handful of students working on a car. This allows more hands-on experience and a better-quality education than having 20 students all trying to observe or work on the same car at the same time. Another great thing about CLC is the variety of night courses. That’s extremely helpful for people like me, who need to work during the day.

It’s hard to pick just one excellent instructor at CLC because all of them—full time and part time—are amazing. You can tell that their passion is to educate. Lance David, Derek Keesling and Ted Wells not only know automotive repair, they can break concepts down to almost any level, in the simplest terms. All of the automotive instructors have been very willing to let students use their smartphones in labs to take photos and learn how parts disassemble and go back together.

The instructors are very personable. If we can’t figure out a problem during a class period, they’ll look into it and help you figure out an answer outside of class. They also have industry connections and access to resources. Because of Derek’s connections with General Motors and Chevrolet, he’s able to access online factory service information that laypeople can’t normally access.

The instructors also are willing to talk about issues that I’ve had with my fleet vehicles, personal vehicles or concerns outside of automotive technology. Because of my dyslexia, I need a little more time to read material compared to other students. In my first semester, I went to the college’s Office for Students with Disabilities, and they were very helpful. If you talk to instructors, and let them know what your needs are, they’re willing to work with you.

The automotive technology lab at the Grayslake Campus is really nice. Besides professional-grade wrenches, ratchets, sockets and screw drivers, it has the latest scanners that tell you what onboard computers and sensors are reading. Nowadays, you can’t service a vehicle without a scanning tool because some cars have upwards of 12 computers, hundreds of sensors and miles of wire. CLC’s automotive program covers a wide range of engines. In one semester, we swapped cylinder heads on a 1990 Mercedes Benz diesel, and in another semester, I took a course on repairing gas/electric hybrid engines.

I’ve made new friends at CLC. In an automotive class, it’s hard not to make friends because you’re talking and working with others who share your passion for cars or just want to learn.

My advice to a new CLC student is to listen to the instructors. They bring real-life experiences to class. That’s especially true in my night automotive technology classes, which are taught by instructors work in automotive repair jobs during the day.