There are thousands of Kia Technicians in the world, many of these Technicians are probably great at what they do, but there is only one BEST Kia Technician in the world. His name is Greg Dubs, he works at Gerald Kia in Naperville, Illinois and he is a proud member of Automobile Mechanics’ Local 701 IAMAW.
A few weeks back we reported (HERE) on Brother Dubs’ success at the Kia Skills National Competition recently held in Irvine, California and how he would be traveling to Seoul, South Korea to compete in the Kia Skill World Cup Competition. It is our pleasure to announce that Greg took home the Gold and took 1st place in the World!
As part of his journey to South Korea, Greg first traveled back to Irvine, California for a few days of preparation with a couple of his fellow teammates from Kia America’s central region. While in Irvine, Greg spent two days training with their coach, Daniel Algarin from Kia Motors, training on specialty tools that they would be using during the World Cup Competition in Seoul.
Irvine wasn’t all work though, the group also had a day to do a little sight seeing in Southern California
before they flew out heading to the famous Pederson Auto Museum, stopping at the Hollywood walk of fame and Hollywood Boulevard, driving through the shopping district on Rodeo Dr. and walking around and through the sand at Venice Beach.
The next day the group began their lengthy trip to Seoul including a 13 hour flight which, combined with the time change, resulted in them landing in Korea the following evening. There wasn’t much time to rest once landing either due to the tight schedule the group still had to make it to a uniform fitting and turn their diagnostic equipment in for inspection that night.
The following morning began the opening ceremony and the beginning of the grueling challenge. Their first task was to complete a 30 question written test worth 300 points. “The written test was rather challenging,” said Greg, “we weren’t allowed any study materials or service manuals to look up any information, the test was purely based on personal knowledge.” After the written portion of the test the competitors were treated to a full tour of the Hwaseong manufacturing plant which has the capability of turning out 600,000 cars a year.
The next day began the practical tests. In the morning they started with the electrical portion worth 200 points and then on vehicle diagnosis worth another 400 points.
The first practical test was electrical where the competitors were asked to build and solder a seat heater/ventilation switch and then wire the circuit on a special board that Kia Motors had built with connector ports that took jumper wires to complete the circuit through the proper pins.
The second practical test was on vehicle where the competitors first had to diagnose a no start concern that had 4 steps to it including; a bad ground, disconnected range switch, and a bad starter fuse and relay.
After getting the vehicle running they were asked to use a special data logger; a tool that no techs in the world use, typically only field reps and engineers have access to this type of equipment. Competitors used the data logger to record and graph two specific data parameters.
Finally they had to take resistance readings of transmission solenoids and a temp sensor and using the specs in the service manual they had to report which one was out of specifications.
After the practical portion of the competition the competitors were given a tour of a Kia service center, which was very different than what we have here in the United States. “Due to the limited amount of space they don’t keep cars on their lots.” Said Greg. “The service center was 5 stories tall with an elevator to move cars between floors, It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.”
On their last day, the competitors took a tour of a Korean folk village and watched traditional Korean dancers. In the afternoon they had some time to shop in Insadong, which is an entire street full of shops and street merchants. “The Korean people were great,” said Greg, “they were very friendly and treated us all well; school kids in the village would come up to us and try to speak english with us.”
That evening was the award ceremony. “I was informed from people who have been there before that depending on where you were assigned to sit it might gave a clue to if you were receiving a medal or not,” said Greg, “I was quite surprised to be seated at the very first table with my supervisor and one of my teammates. I was even more shocked to find out that I was sitting directly next to Mr. Tae-Hyun Oh, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Kia Motors Corporation.”
Kia Motors gave out 3 specialist awards for the highest score in each test area. They give out 3 bronze medals, which were awarded to competitors from Norway, Qatar, and China. Next there were 2 silver medals, one of which went to a competitor from China and the other to Greg’s teammate, Ben Hendricks from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
There was but one gold medal to be had – just one
competitor who would be named the Kia Skill Cup Champion and that title went to Local 701’s very own Greg Dubs. “I was extremely shocked when they called my name,” said Greg, “I received my medal and trophy from Mr. Oh and took my place upon the pedestal and watched as they presented my supervisor with the champions flag that will be displayed at the Kia Motors America headquarters.”
“After the awards were handed out we were treated to a 5 course dinner,” said Greg, “during dinner, I conversed with Mr. Oh about family and work and places we have traveled. It was a great evening.”
After the awards banquet was over, Greg and his teammates went on to celebrate the two medals they had won for the United States, enjoying another local restaurant with John Crowe, Vice President for Kia Motors America, who happened to be in Korea for meetings and was able to attend the award ceremony while he was there.
”I was honored to be able to travel to Korea for this competition,” said Greg, “I am extremely proud to be able to bring home the gold medal for my country. It was truly a unique and unforgettable experience.”
“We are so proud of Greg for this amazing accomplishment.” Said Bill LePinske, Greg’s Business Representative who previously worked with him at Gerald Kia prior to coming on staff with Local 701. “Having worked with Greg for several years, I am not surprised that he won the gold medal. Greg always took pride in his work and I was always impressed with his attention to detail.”
“Congratulations to IAM Local 701 auto mechanic Greg Dubs for taking home the gold in the Kia Skill World Cup Competition in South Korea,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Philip J. Gruber. “Your triumph proves that U.S. workers are the most talented, highly-skilled workforce in the world. Your union couldn’t be more proud of you, your hard work, and dedication.”