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Morden technician national champion

Lauren MacGill

MORDEN - 

A Morden Chrysler technician has been named best in Canada after winning the regional and national Master Tech award.

Keith Bergen has worked at Pembina Valley Chrysler Dodge Jeep for 10 years.

“I’ve always liked working on cars,” Bergen said. “It started when I got my first car. I wanted to build it up to what I wanted and I loved working on it. I put my passion into my occupation. You get a thrill out of diagnosing something that’s difficult to figure out.”

Chrysler has 440 dealerships and over 3,700 technicians across the country. Their technicians go through training, and the 100 who score the best on quizzes completed during training are sent to participate in a hands-on challenge.

Technicians have 12 minutes to diagnose a “bugged” vehicle. From there, four winners are picked: Western, Atlantic, Quebec and Eastern. Those four are then sent to complete a final written test.

This was the second time Bergen has advanced to the provincial level. “It wasn’t as intimidating the second time,” he said. “The first time you’re not quite sure what to expect going into it. The second time was definitely a lot better, I kind of knew what to expect.”

“The way they bug the vehicle, you really have no idea where to even start,” Bergen added. “But they do such an excellent job in training us on the vehicles and how to diagnose that you basically just follow the steps that they teach you.”

Bergen won the Western Regional Championship, and then went on to take the Master Tech national title.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Bergen said. “It doesn’t happen every day, it’s kind of a once in a lifetime experience to be able to compete with the top techs from Chrysler in Canada is pretty awesome.”

Service manager Zane Strydom said Bergen is one of their youngest techs, but is a talented mechanic. “He’s one of the smartest mechanics we have here,” he said.

Strydom said it’s good to know that members of the team are achieving at such a high level. “If somebody struggles, they have somebody to go back [to] and ask questions and get answers,” he said. “Everybody benefits.”

Parts and service district manager Rachel Mailloux said the award came as a bit of a surprise. “I’m fairly new to this position and the first time I came here they told me that we had some of the best techs in Canada,” she said. “I kind of dismissed them thinking that obviously they’re going to talk up their employees. A few weeks later I got the call and [Keith] won.”

Mailloux said the award is a big deal for the Western Business Centre. “We like to see it come back to us,” she said. “We want the dealer to tell everyone, ‘We have the best tech in Canada.’ There’s a lot of competition.”

Owner of Pembcorp Automotive Group Bernie Clement said the award is a major honour. “Knowing how difficult this is for an individual to make it to being the national champion, I think it’s a really major accomplishment,” he said. “Today with the training requirements everyone is well trained, but to have someone that comes out on top and can diagnose a car in 12 minutes, especially when they’ve bugged the car the way they have, it’s a really big honour for Keith. We’re extremely excited and proud of him.”

Chrysler also gifted Bergen with $1,000 for winning the national title.