Mike McLaughlin, Sr., (left) and Chris Howard look at a Senior Master Service Award earned by Howard.
Mike McLaughlin, Sr., (left) and Chris Howard look at a Senior Master Service Award earned by Howard.

December 5, 2016

Coon Rapids

Chris Howard of Carroll started at the bottom of the ladder,

Literally.

He was a tire guy, a flipper and changer at Wal-Mart before coming to work for Champion Ford in Carroll and then New Way Ford in Coon Rapids, the latter where he has worked for about four years.

Now he’s a Ford-certified senior master technician, a highly skilled professional essential to this southern Carroll County business, says Roger Tapps, service manager for New Way.

The staff there gathered Thursday to celebrate Howard’s achievements.

“You go from a basic bottom-feeder to what you are now,” Howard said. “Tire changing is nothing. The experience and satisfaction of knowing you did a good job, there’s no words that can express it. If you like what you do, you don’t work a day in your life.”

Howard said his career is challenging.

“It’s different every day,” he said. “Anything that entails being a technician, you can do it.”

Howard, 33, says he’s worked on the Ford certification for about four years.

“Many, many tests and classes down in Ankeny and patience,” Howard said.

Howard said he could not have earned the certification without the support of the New Way team.

“Every day they supported getting the tests done, going to Ankeny,” Howard said. “Any questions I ever had, they always answered them. It’s a very good team.”

Michael McLaughlin, president of McLaughlin Family Companies, the parent company of New Way Ford in Coon Rapids, said the certification is part of a service-oriented growth strategy.

“We’re excited to take over the dealership almost a year ago,” he said. “We’re just proud to tout that we have two certified master technicians. It’s quite an accomplishment.”

Dale Meiners is the other New Way senior master technician.

“It’s a testimonial to the owners and everybody involved to allow these guys to go and get the training that they need,” Tapps said.

Added McLaughlin, “We’ve been pushing service, service, service.”

McLaughlin Family Companies CEO John McLaughlin Sr. says Ford places and emphasis on service. Howard’s hard work is right in line with that, McLaughlin said.

Howard’s father, Ron Howard of Carroll, is retired.

Chris Howard is a graduate of Red Oak High School.