Guam Community College’s Automotive Technology program faces a boost in enrollment through a potential joint initiative between a GCC student-based organization and auto dealers.

Nilo S. Ondevilla is president of the non-profit GCC Racing and Development Club a new organization with about 35 members composed of auto mechanics racing drivers and supporters.

He said the organization is intent on pursuing the highest standards of automotive excellence promoting the basic principles of auto racing and serving as advocates of safety for the community and its members.

The group is working to secure the involvement of the Guam Automobile Dealers Association as partners in generating interest in the GCC Automotive Technology program Ondevilla said.

The organization’s constitution says its goal is “To establish a partnership and maintain a continuous positive relationship with the various automotive dealers on Guam fostering a win-win environment thus allowing GCC Racing and Development Club members maximum exposure to new technological advancements in the automotive field while Guam automotive dealers can utilize the club’s officially sponsored events as marketing and advertising platforms to promote sales as an extension of their showroom.”

Dan Camacho vice president and general manager of Atkins Kroll and president of the Guam Automobile Dealers Association said the GADA membership may see the merit in Ondevilla’s efforts. “I think this is something that GADA will be interested in with the individual members as well ” he said. “Especially if it’s going to be in coordination with the local college in developing programs and people in our industry — we’d support it.”

Ondevilla is graduating at the end of the Spring 2005 semester and is leaving GCC’s Automotive Technology program but said he wants to “plant the seed” and to see it grow. Ondevilla said he would also like to promote 100% Automotive Services Excellence certification for all of the new association’s members. He said in the U.S. mainland most employers will not employ service technicians or mechanics without an ASE certification but local employers may consider hiring a person without the certification. “We must raise the roof. We must set the standard. I know that it’s ambitious but it’s necessary ” he said.

Ondevilla said he recognized GCC’s concern over liability issues regarding the sport of racing but that the group will work to ensure the interest in racing is equal to the interest in understanding safety procedures and equipment. “This is the only club with a safety officer who is a safety inspector ” he said.

“If this club is going to be able to open up the eyes of residents and employers in the island — to have them say ‘Hey if you want a good hire then you need to go to GCC’s automotive department and get the best technicians that you can possibly pull out of program ‘ then so be it — we’ve done our job ” Ondevilla said. MBJ