Succeeding @ OCC
Patrick Emdee
Patrick Emdee is a freshman in the Automotive Technology degree program. He's working on the '57 Chevy pickup students are restoring. The truck will be raffled in 2022.

If you stroll into the Automotive Technology lab on the first floor of the Whitney Applied Technology Center, there's a pretty good chance you will find Patrick Emdee there tinkering with something. "I'm enjoying every minute of being here. I like working with my hands and thinking with my mind. I like trying to put my mind to my hands and vice versa. It's why I enjoy this career a lot."

His favorite thing to work on is the 1957 Chevy pickup truck which Automotive Technology students are restoring. "I've learned a lot more from it than I thought I would. I've done a lot of body work and learned how to use a lot more than things than I expected." When restoration of the truck is complete, it will be raffled off.

Emdee began getting first-hand experience when he bought his first car, a 2003 Volkswagen Passat. It had over 170,000 miles on it and needed constant attention. "The check engine light was on every week. I had to do a tune up, change spark plugs, change wiring, change the distributor, and had a bunch of codes come up for the catalytic converter. I tried changing the O2 sensors and that didn't do anything so I got rid of the car."

His bad experience owning that vehicle gave him good car repair experience. Sometimes his dad would help him fix things, sometimes he would watch YouTube videos  to learn how things were done, and sometimes he would just figure things out on his own.

After graduating from Ithaca High School in June, Emdee came to OCC where he's loved learning from Automotive Technology Professor Ryan Beckley. "He's great. He's probably the best teacher I've ever had. And he's helped me get my first job in the business." In October Emdee began working at Fox Toyota Subaru in Auburn. He's doing basic maintenance like oil changes, tire rotations, and multipoint inspections. "I'm enjoying it very much. And in between jobs I like hopping around and learning other things."

As he gets valuable professional experience, Emdee plans to stay in school and complete work toward his associate degree. "My day has a degree, my mom has a degree, and my sister is working toward getting her degree. In my mind money isn't everything. It's important to get my education."

Onondaga Community College