Alum Rich Mastriano Finds
Road Map to
Success at Mercer

6/08


Restoring cars to mint condition has always been Rich Mastriano's passion. Attending MCCC in 1974 fresh out of high school, he did not know he could purse his passion in a higher education setting, nor was he serious about college at the time.

That all changed when Mercer introduced its DaimlerChrysler College Automotive Program (CAP). Endorsed by the National Automotive Technician Education Foundation (NATEF) with "Master Technician" certification. Mercer's two-year program was the perfect fit for Mastriano (AAS, Automotive Technology), who re-enrolled at Mercer in 1980. Today, he is a reconditioning coordinator at Enterprise Car Sales in Jacksonville, FL, a position he has held for the past four years. At the company, he is the only ASE Master Technician with an associate's degree in Automotive Technology.

Alum Rich Mastriano ('89) found his road map to
a career in automotive technology.

After leaving Mercer the first time, Mastriano had a few jobs but nothing quite fulfilled his true interests. "I was 'lost' in my job search, but Mercer's CAP changed all that," he said. "My second time around was awesome. I have always been a 'gearhead.' With the apprentice program, I was exposed to technicians with actual experience in the field. They showed me how to diagnose and repair vehicles in the dealership setting."

Mastriano recalls instructors Fred Bassini and John Roberts, who explained the material in an interesting way and made the instruction exciting. "We had great fun and it was better than the traditional teacher/student relationship. I considered it more like mentoring with a little 'bench racing' thrown in for good measure. Being one of the oldest in my class, I had something more to prove than most," Mastriano said.

At Enterprise, Mastriano wears many hats, conducting preliminary inspection on all Enterprise vehicles in northeast Florida, inspecting the cars after mechanical reconditioning, approving invoices, maintaining the budget for each vehicle, and maintaining the Enterprise Car Sales internet site for the region - now ranked No. 1 in the company. He also performs customer service. "My co-workers rely on my product and technical knowledge," said Mastriano. "I love working on all brands of vehicles."

After graduating from Mercer, Mastriano landed a job with Dick Greenfield Dodge (his CAP program sponsor), where he worked for eight years. Since moving to Florida, he has also worked for such dealerships and companies as Caruso Chrysler & Jerry Hamm Chevrolet, Firestone, Toyota Brumos Motor Cars/Mercedes and Duval Acura.

"I always wanted to finish college with a degree and for me the CAP program was the means to get it," Mastriano said. "With Chrysler Corporation as the sponsor, I was very motivated."

During his spare time, Mastriano has restored his own 1970 Road Runner Convertible and has raced a 440-6 barrel Road Runner. In his last venture, he and his family rebuilt a 1976 Dodge Aspen Station Wagon with a high performance 360-cubic-inch engine and racing transmission. As an added thrill, he and his son went on the Hot Rod Magazine Power Tour in 2006 with the family-built car, traveling from Orlando to Englishtown, N.J., through the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Poconos -- all in six days.

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