From dealership to classroom: David Higgins brings automotive expertise to SCC
Wednesday, July 19th, 2023
With 20 years of teaching experience and Automotive Service Excellence certification, David Higgins is Southeastern Community College’s newest automotive instructor. Growing up in the “muscle car era” and hanging out at drag strips as a teen, Higgins’ interest in cars went into overdrive. That love for cars led him to working in the automotive repair industry
“I hope that I can bring my knowledge and experience and help guide others into the field,” Higgins said. “Because one of the things the industry is lacking is good technicians. I’d love to work with the local businesses around here and eventually have a lot of apprenticeship programs going out there.”
Higgins wants to create an environment where apprentices can “work and learn and have them placed in jobs when they leave the program.” He is looking forward to working with second-year students who will dive deeper into overhauling engines and transmissions.
“In the past six months, there had been a lot of different people reaching out to me about this program at SCC needing a second instructor,” Higgins said. “I’m ready to grow a new program for the community and am excited about what’s going on here and see the vision of our president.”
SCC President Dr. Chris English, a former mechanic and automotive technician, realized the importance of having a National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certified instructor. The certification ensures that an automotive technician possess the current skills needed to work on current technology.
“When we started looking for another instructor, it was very important that we find somebody who not only had the experience behind them, but also had the ASE certifications needed,” English said. “It eventually came down to David, and he’s going to be the perfect fit for the automotive program.”
Higgins begins teaching at SCC on Aug. 1.
Higgins was born in Raleigh. His dad was a grocery store manager, and his family moved many times during his childhood. From Raleigh, to Sanford, Wilmington, Lake Waccamaw, Chadbourn, Charlotte and back to Raleigh, Higgins got his first job “turning wrenches” on Capital Boulevard.
Higgins graduated from the automotive program at Vance-Granville Community College north of Raleigh before moving back to Columbus County in 1993 to work for the Wells Oldsmobile dealership in Whiteville. After 10 years of working there, Higgins’ career path turned towards education. He started teaching the automotive program at Whiteville High School in 2003.
Higgins’ favorite part about teaching is “listening to former students talk about how they succeeded.” Higgins’ explained that one of his former students went into criminal justice after high school, did not like it and went into the automotive industry. The former student’s mother told Higgins that it was his experience in Higgins’ classroom that influenced his decision.
Higgins said the biggest difference between working at a dealership versus in a school is the pace at which work is done. He explained that dealerships want to get jobs done quickly to make more money, whereas in school, Higgins can “slow down” and explain to students and get hands-on experience.
Registration is now open for Fall semester
SCC is excited to offer automotive classes as curriculum or short-term workforce training with a list of options sure to meet your schedule!
Automotive Short-Term Training Options (click the links on the class name to register and pay for the course of your choice):
Click here to view Automotive degree, diploma, and certificate options.