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, then 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
  • Working Video Studio for Gearhead School

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‚Äôs 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. So what was that little voice telling me?

The little voice in my head…

Grant. You listen to all those podcasts and go to all those automotive shows. You know the industry needs another way to deliver core training to many working and upcoming technicians. You are also spooky smart about digital technology and online training. You can help more people, and the industry, by focusing all your time and talents on a digital platform.

You know, I am right. I double dog dare you!

So, I took the double dog dare and left the teaching position. 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 2018, I launched Gearhead School. It is powered by Electude and supplemental content I have added. Electude provides training on all 8 ASE areas and is used by over 300,000 users in 35 countries. Gearhead School students are also enrolled in a private Facebook group and can participate in weekly Zoom video meetings with the instructor.

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 a formal education. They are trying to learn the basics on the fly while the aftermarket industry is mainly training on advanced topics.

Grant Swaim
Site Administrator