Tech Driven: Vehicle Refinishing & Repair

Tech Driven: Vehicle Refinishing & Repair

Fall 2015

| By: Britten, Casey

After losing her job, Susan Butler learned new skills to train technicians in the growing collision repair industry.

When Susan Butler lost her job in the insurance field after 16 years due to downsizing, she looked at the situation as both a learning experience and a new opportunity in life.

“I found myself at a career crossroads when an insurance agency let me go in 2009,” Butler recalls. “But that situation prompted me to be proactive and check out Fox Valley Technical College.”

Butler noticed that claims adjuster was listed as a potential career on a job posting resource at FVTC for Vehicle Refinishing & Repair Technology program graduates. “I realized that if I wanted to become a claims adjuster, I needed to have a better understanding of how to repair a vehicle,” she says.

Today, the 45-year-old Appleton resident works as an instructional designer for I-CAR, the Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair. “I work as part of a team that researches and develops training courses for the repair industry,” she explains. “What we do is important as there is a real need for ongoing training to help ensure technicians are completing safe and quality repairs.”


After spending over 20 years in an office, Butler was concerned about not having the right aptitude for returning to school and being in a shop setting. “However, once I started classes, I not only survived but thrived with the help of great instructors, like Jerry Goodson and Joe Kircher” she says. “In fact, through the Collision Education Foundation, I won the 2009 AzkoNobel Most Influential Woman Scholarship.”

Butler recommends the collision repair industry to others in search of a new career. “Vehicle refinishing and repair is a growing field,” she says. “There simply aren’t enough new techs coming into this profession.”

Graduates at Every Turn

100% graduate employment in FVTC’s Vehicle Refinishing & Repair Technology program, 5 years running.
FVTC Graduate Employment Research Reports, 2011-2015