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Alumni Spotlight Archive


James Gray
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James Gray

Job:
Full-time faculty member in the Automotive Department at Triton College.

Vitals:
I graduated from Triton College in 2007 with an Associate in Applied Science degree in automotive technology and from Southern Illinois University Carbondale in 2008 with a Bachelor of Science degree in workforce education and development.

I have more than 26 years of experience as an automotive technician and more than seven years of teaching experience at the community college level. Before joining Triton College in 2002, I worked for General Motors, Chrysler and Toyota dealerships. In this role, I was responsible for the diagnosis, repair of customer's vehicles and maintaining shop equipment.

Accolades:
I am a certified ASE Master Automotive Technician with L1 Advanced Engine Performance certification, was the first person in the Chicagoland region to receive World Class Technician status from General Motors, and graduated from Triton College with high honors and from Southern Illinois University Carbondale Magna Cum Laude.

What would you describe as your strong suit?
I have a desire for excellence. I can not be perfect, but I always want to do and be the best that I can be.

What have been some obstacles you've had to overcome in pursuit of your educational and career goals?
My biggest obstacle is trying to juggle a career change, going back to school and my responsibilities with family and church.

What has served as a source of inspiration both in your career and in your life?
My faith in the Lord is my driving force. His word tells me that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. My family is also one of my greatest inspirations. I have been married for 24 years to Sheryl, an elementary school administrator and have two children. My son, James, will graduate this summer from Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa, and my daughter, Jamie, attends Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia. My wife, Sheryl, is my biggest cheerleader, followed closely by my children. When times would get hard and I would want to quit, they would be my encouragement to press on. Students that want to learn also move me to go the extra mile to facilitate learning and their success.

How has Triton College impacted your life?
Triton launched my teaching career by allowing me the opportunity to teach part-time and return to school to earn my associate's degree.

What advice would you give to someone who would like to pursue a career in your field?
I pray first, and then seek the support of my family. Work hard, do your best and look for someone in the field that you look up to and can talk to.