The TechForce Foundation has announced Donald Ranquist, an automotive technician at CarMax in South Jordan, Utah, as the 2021 Techs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner. TechForce created this prestigious award to honor professional technicians who mentor and inspire the next generation of techs, bring excellence to their workplaces and communities, and demonstrate passion and commitment to the profession.
Meet the Grand Prize and Category Winners at TechForce.org/Winners.
Ranquist was selected amongst the Awards’ five category winners, through an online people’s choice vote held November 29 – December 3, 2021. Over 5,500 ballots were cast in the vote. Ranquist was previously named as the Pay it Forward Category Winner, as selected by TechForce’s panel of industry judges including Bogi Lateiner, Bogi’s Garage; Charles Sanville, The Humble Mechanic; Emily Reeves, Flying Sparks Garage; Steve Ford, The Car Guy; and Julia Landauer, NASCAR Driver.
In addition to the more than $1,800 in prizes awarded to each category winner, Ranquist also will areceive an all-expenses-paid trip to STX 2022 in Orlando, Florida, valued at $3,000, courtesy of Advance Auto Parts and a grand prize package valued at more than $5,000 from TechForce partners CRC Industries, Ford Motor Co., Snap-on Tools, Advance Auto Parts, Shell, WD-40 Co. and AutoZone.
When Ranquist learned he was the 2021 Techs Rock Awards grand prize winner he exclaimed, “I won?! That’s awesome! …I don’t usually brag about myself… This is really exciting. Thank you!”
Ranquist acknowledged his stiff competition in the vote, and went on to praise his fellow category winners, “I read through [their profiles] and they’re all amazing technicians and people. I was impressed by what they have overcome … If I could say anything to the other [winners] it would be ‘heck of a job… you’re amazing.’”
“TechForce Foundation is proud to recognize Donald Ranquist and CarMax with this award,” said TechForce Foundation Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer Mike Pressendo. “The Techs Rock Awards were established to recognize the often overlooked yet outstanding contributions transportation technicians make in their communities day in and day out. Donald illustrates the positive impacts techs make. He sets a great example for others to follow.”
About Donald from his nomination: “Donald Ranquist makes it a priority to find ways he can positively impact those around him. From serving on the CarMax Cares committee to establishing his own non-profit to heal victims of bullying through Motorsports, Donald shows those new to the industry what can be achieved as a technician. In his own words, ‘As an automotive technician I’ve developed skills that can help many people… I try and offer assistance in any way I can.’”
The 2021 Category Winners each represent a distinct category. Awardees include:
• Outstanding Mentor – David May, Karl Tyler Chevrolet in Missoula, MT
• Rookie of the Year – Drew Harless, Berglund Ford in Salem, VA
• Die Hard – Jess Anderson, Kolar Chevrolet in Hermantown, MN
• Barrier Buster – Gabriel Gaumer, MHC Kenworth in Topeka, KS
• Pay it Forward – (Grand Prize Winner) Donald Ranquist, CarMax in South Jordan, UT
The Techs Rock Awards are part of TechForce Foundation’s workforce development initiative to help inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. TechForce has also created the first and only social network designed and gamified for professional technicians and tech students to connect with each other, employers and schools. The transportation community is supporting it with content and using it to learn, connect, find events, and explore job opportunities while competing for prizes and leaderboard status.