Automotive technician receives national award

Dennis Corson, an Automotive Service Excellence-certified master automobile technician from Detroit, was honored recently as the Nissan/ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year. Forty-six automotive professionals were recognized Nov. 18 at the fall board of governors meeting of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence in Scottsdale, Arizona, according to a news release from the ASE.

Corson is employed by Charlie’s Motor Mall in Augusta, where he has been a technician for 25 years.

The ASE annual awards spotlight top scorers on the ASE Certification Tests from among the ranks of the more than 300,000 ASE-certified professionals nationwide. Rob Barto, manager, technical training design; Greg Gaulin, chairman of the ASE board of directors; and Timothy Zilke, ASE president & CEO, presented the award to Corson.

“Denny is one of the outstanding ASE-certified professionals recognized annually by different segments of the automotive service and repair industry. Each of these elite technicians is presented with an industry-specific award recognizing their achievement,” Zilke said.

“ASE has been honoring outstanding automotive professionals in our industry for more than 40 years, and we are proud to once again recognize forty-six outstanding individuals from across the nation,” said Zilke.

Thirty-six companies sponsored the individual technician recognition awards in the auto, truck, collision and parts categories, along awards for instructors, students and managers. In addition to looking for top scores on ASE tests, award sponsors examine on-the-job excellence, community service and other factors when selecting honorees.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence was founded in 1972 as a nonprofit, independent organization dedicated to improving the quality of automotive service and repair through voluntary testing and certification of automotive professionals. More than 300,000 ASE-certified automobile, truck, and collision repair technicians and parts specialists work in dealerships, independent shops, service stations, auto parts stores, fleets and schools across the nation.

The Finance Authority of Maine announced Thursday that help is available to Maine students and families seeking financial aid for higher education.

Throughout the state for two weeks in January, FAME plans to hold 22 help sessions, where experienced financial aid experts will be on hand to help families complete the application on the spot, according to a news release from the agency.

Augusta-area families can meet with FAME financial aid experts at 6 p.m. Jan. 13 at Capital Area Technical Center in Augusta. Waterville-area families can do so at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 21 at Mid-Maine Technical Center. A complete listing of the 22 dates and locations is available at FAMEmaine.com.

The FAFSA is the federal application that all schools use to determine student eligibility for federal financial aid. The 2016-2017 school year forms are available and can be found at FAFSA.gov.

According to FAME, only about 62 percent of Maine high school seniors completed the FAFSA by May 1 of last year.

“As a result, many students left significant grant money on the table, while others missed out on financial aid completely,” said Martha Johnston, director of education at FAME. “We want to get the word out that every family sending a child off to college, trade or technical school should complete the FAFSA, and we’re here to help them. Significant financial aid does exist, and the earlier families apply, the more aid they may be able to receive.”

This marks the 12th year FAME has made the help sessions available to Mainers. Over the years, FAME has assisted more than 7,500 families through these events, according to the release.

Johnston also said FAME hopes to help reduce Maine residents’ student loan debt. She added that completing the FAFSA as early as possible is one of the best ways to minimize student loan borrowing. Many students fail to complete the FAFSA, or submit it after critical deadlines. For example, some colleges have financial aid deadlines in February and March, and the FAFSA is used by FAME to award the Maine State Grant for all applicants who apply by May 1st. These students miss out on potential grants and end up borrowing more than they would have needed to.

If families are not able to attend the in-person help sessions, FAME also offers online support at FAMEmaine.com. Families can also call 800-228-3734 with questions.