Graduated Washburn High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1966.
Attended University of Minnesota until 1968.
U.S. Army schooling in wheeled vehicle repair, and OJT in heavy equipment and track vehicle repair, as well as welding and machine shop fabrication (battlefield repair).
Graduated Dunwoody Industrial Institute with honors in 1973. Degree/certificate in Automotive Electrical.
Attended various teacher training classes at the University of Minnesota and Hennepin County Community College from 1975 until 1978.
1991 until present, I've attended many classes at SRJC, mostly in the Computer Science department.
My career has included almost continuous update training by vehicle manufacturers and from independent educators.
1974 - 1978 Automotive Instructor at Joint Independent School District 287, Hennepin County VoTech (Hennepin Technical Institute) teaching all facets of automotive repair to both secondary and post-secondary students.
1978 - 1983 As Owner/Operator of two independent repair facilities, I was responsible for training my young staff of repair technicians. It was as much a mentoring role as it was a teaching role, and was very satisfying personally.
1991 - present adjunct faculty Automotive Instructor at SRJC teaching mostly in the fields of: emission controls/smog testing, fuel systems, electrical systems, vehicle driveability, and Bureau of Automotive Repair licensing courses.
2009... Faculty member, Santa Rosa Junior College, Industrial Trade Technology Department, Alternative Fuels/Automotive Technology area.
Clifford W. Norton Jr.
I was Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In 1984 I moved to Santa Rosa with my family. I was hired by SRJC In 1991 as an Adjunct Faculty Automotive Instructor to teach the Brake/Chassis class. In 1992 I began teaching the California Bureau of Automotive Repair (BAR) Clean Air Car Course, and I have been teaching primarily Emission, Electrical, Fuel, and Driveability classes since then.
I have been in the Automotive business my entire working life, beginning at a service station in Minneapolis, where I worked until I entered the U.S. Army in 1968. After discharge in 1971, I was back at the same service station until 1973 at which time I began working at a Chevrolet dealership in Wayzata, MN (an interesting side note is that the dealership owner's sister was named Betty Bloomer; she would later become First Lady Betty Ford). In 1974 I began substitute teaching at a magnificent brand-new trade technical school.
In 1975 I began working full time as an Auto Instructor at Hennepin Technical Institute. This position lasted until my wife and I bought a small independent auto repair shop named Galaxy Auto Center; we added a second Galaxy Auto Center two years later, but working on the cars in subzero cold finally convinced me that a move to California was prudent.
After selling the two businesses, we packed up and moved to Santa Rosa to be close to a group of my beautiful wife's family who had settled all around the Bay Area. Upon arrival I found employment at a local car dealership, where I remained until 2009.
My background in auto repair in Minnesota was heavily involved with domestic car lines (in the 1960s and 1970s there just weren't many imports around yet), but in California my day-to-day repair work has been largely in imported vehicle car lines. I have also seen, and taught through, large transitions in the auto industry, one example of which is a switch from mechanically controlled systems to computer controlled systems. These transitions continue today -- witness hybrid and fuel cell powered vehicles -- and I am as excited about new technologies and cars now as I was as that teenage boy in 1966.
Update: May of 2009...I am very pleased to add to this biography, that I have been hired as a full time faculty member at Santa Rosa Junior College. I will be starting in the Fall Semester of 2009 as an Alternative Fuels/Automotive Technology instructor. My course load will most likely switch to days, and will likely include alternative fuels, engine performance and automotive electrical courses. Take a look at my schedule elsewhere in this homepage for the latest.
Update: January 2011...I have settled into my full time instructional role at the college, and I am coordinator for the Automotive and the Alternative Fuels programs. The budget presents significant obstacles, but we are doing well and classes are all overfull. There are many people who wish to become technicians in the Automotive/Alternative Fuel field.
Update: July 2013...I was elected as the department chair of the Industrial & Trade Technology department. This will consist of representing and guiding the department and its four programs: Welding, Machine Tool, Diesel Technology, and Automotive Technology.
Professional Areas of Interest:
My primary interests lie in the areas of computerized controls and the next generation of propulsion systems -- hybrid vehicles, electric cars, natural gas fueled vehicles, and fuel cell technologies.
I must say that I am absolutely fascinated by all aspects of transportation. The physics, chemistry, and sometimes seeming alchemy that go into our vehicles is a source of delight to me. I hope it always is!
Professional Involvement and Community Service:
Member: Society of Automotive Engineers
Volunteer: Santa Rosa YMCA Indian Guides and Indian Princesses Board of
Directors 1985 - 1989
Volunteer: homeless shelter and Sonoma County's various chemical abuse programs
Volunteer: served as a judge in both the Plymouth Troubleshooting contest, and in various VICA events
Youth soccer coach 1987 - 1993
State of Minnesota automotive vocational program evaluator. Visited vocational training schools around the state to evaluate their automotive programs and make recommendations for improvements.
Member: IATN (International Automotive Technicians' Network)
Member: Automotive Service Excellence program
Attend Santa Rosa Junior College Automotive Advisory Committee meetings
representing Hansel Prestige Imports.
Honors and Awards:
Participant in SAAB Cars USA Technician Challenge 1996 - 2003. This Challenge was for the top twelve technicians from the USA and Canada. It was a good-natured but very intense troubleshooting competition.
Senior Master Subaru Technician
Master SAAB Technician
Master Chevrolet Technician
Master BMW Technician
ASE Certified in L1/Auto Advanced Engine Performance
ASE Certified in F1/Compressed Natural Gas Vehicles
ASE Certified Master Automotive Technician
ASE Certified Master Medium/Heavy Truck Technician
Licensed BAR Advanced Emissions Specialist
Licensed BAR Class A Brake Adjuster
Licensed BAR Class A Lamp Adjuster
Licensed BAR Enhanced Instructor