The Gearhead School Story

Grant Swaim

I’ve been involved in the automotive service industry my entire life. After graduating from high school I was off to the local community college for an Auto Mechanic’s Diploma (which was the only option available in North Carolina in 1974)

After two years as a Honda dealership tech, I opened my own independent Honda repair shop, Triad Auto Specialty, in Greensboro, NC. The shop outgrew two leased facilities and then moved into a new 6,000 sq. ft. facility.

At Triad Auto’s 20-year mark, I was approached by a developer about purchasing the property. At this point, I offered to sell the business to my two top employees. They took me up on the offer and moved the shop to a leased facility, and eventually, they moved into a new custom-built 14-bay shop on a three-acre tract of land. I use this facility for most of my shop-based video work.

Triad Auto Specialty, Greensboro, NC – Honda Specialty Shop Since 1978

After selling Triad Auto, I spent the next 7 years developing and delivering onsite training to independent Honda repair shops. My training focused on OBD-II and drivability. During this period I also completed an A.A.S in Automotive Technology.

In 2003 I accepted a full-time teaching position with the NC Community College System. During my 15 years at this position, I self-published the textbook “Technology Guide for Today’s Automotive Technician”, and completed a B.S. Career and Technical Education degree.

At the end of the spring semester in 2018, I did some soul searching to decide how I wanted to complete my career. Did I want to continue with traditional classroom teaching a cohort of 16 students each year? Or should I do something different that allowed me to better use my God-given talents to make a bigger impact on the automotive service industry?

So at the end of the spring semester in 2018, I listened to that little voice in my head and left my safe full-time salaried teaching position with the NC Community System. At that point, I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do. I had several ideas and ran down several rabbit holes before Gearhead School came into focus.

In February 2019, I launched Gearhead School to offer online training products to the automotive service industry. By leveraging on the versatility and affordability offered by using digital technology, Gearhead School can push training to many of the “forgotten techs”. These are upcoming techs and many working techs that, for whatever reason, missed out on formal education. They are trying to learn the basics on the fly, while the aftermarket industry is mainly offering training on advanced topics.

Grant Swaim
Site Administrator