TOWNSHIP – A SUNY Canton educator and alumnus with a lifelong commitment to students in the skilled trades has achieved landmark achievement from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence.
Dennis E. Tuper, an educational support associate for the Automotive Technology program, won the Motor Age Training + ASE Master Automobile and L1 Technician of the Year awards. Recognition was given when Tuper achieved the highest cumulative score on eight ASE tests and an advanced engine performance specialist certification exam. He was one of 48 automotive professionals recognized by ASE this year.
“From welding a race-ready steel bridge to nut-and-bolt restoration on a custom V8 engine, Dennis can really fix it all,” said Canino School of Engineering Technology dean Michael J. Newtown . “We have been exceptionally fortunate to have him on our staff and we appreciate his patience and knowledge. He has been a tremendous resource for our students.
Tuper graduated from the Automotive Technology Program. He started working at SUNY Canton in 1999 after a successful career with TJ Toyota in Potsdam. He has been a Master Automotive Technician ASE since 1986. He obtained the titles of Master Technician Chrysler, Master Technician in Toyota Diagnosis and Honda Technician Silver level. He finished fourth nationally in the Toyota Master Technician Skills Contest in 1998.
“I discovered early on that I had a knack for fixing things,” Tuper said. “I started out like many technicians working on bikes and lawn mowers. We didn’t have a lot of money, so it was something I learned to do or do without. It just manifested in who I am today.
In addition to being an educational support associate who keeps the automotive lab running, Tuper teaches several courses including welding, automatic transmissions, and manual transmissions and transmissions.
“I had tremendous help along the way,” Tuper noted. “My father-in-law, Ralph Planty, was a great general mechanic and manufacturer, and had the patience of a saint. My high school store teacher, Stuart Valentine, was also a big influence on my career path, especially when I moved from technician status to education.
Tuper is well known for helping the college’s American Institute of Steel Construction steel bridge team and has been the primary bridge builder during the team’s 25 years of operation. He typically spends over 100 hours a year welding the bridge to the designs of the students. Tuper and Paul D. Hitchman, Retired Teaching Support Associate, won the SUNY Canton College Council Academic Service Excellence Award in 2013 for their work with the team.
Besides the annual Student Steel Bridge competition, he said his favorite memories with college were the two times he brought groups of Auto Club students and faculty to the Specialty Equipment Market Association show. (SEMA) in Las Vegas.
“This is the largest auto parts merchandising convention in the world and is reserved for people associated with an auto business,” said Tuper. “It was a good time, and I was happy to be a part of these groups.”
Tuper’s support for students is not tied to the classroom. It sponsors an Automotive Student Textbook Scholarship awarded annually to a second year automotive technology student through the SUNY Canton College Foundation Inc.
“Jesse Briggs was the first student to receive my textbook scholarship in 2013, even before I made it official through the Foundation,” Tuper recalls. He had to agree to go on stage at the beginning.
Tuper even paid for Briggs’ cap and gown for graduation. Briggs then went on to become a Certified Master Automotive Technician at a Volkswagen dealership and graduated from SUNY Canton in four years in 2017. “This is a real achievement that I have had the privilege to be a part of,” he said. he declares.
He said his future plans included retiring from college and perhaps focusing on some of his hobbies. He enjoys gardening, hunting, fishing, woodworking or driving his four-wheeler, snowmobile and Harley Davidson. He also volunteers with the American Legion. “Working in my woodlot is also great therapy,” he said.
Tuper lives in West Potsdam with his partner, Debra S. LaBrake, who works for the SUNY Canton College Association in the Campus Center Store.
About the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE)
ASE is a non-profit organization that strives to improve the quality of vehicle repair and maintenance by testing and certifying automotive professionals since 1972. Its mission is to protect service customers automobiles, store owners and maintenance professionals. The organization tests and certifies service professionals to better assess the level of expertise of technicians. ASE certification is designed to bring peace of mind to those who offer or need auto repair.