Larry Witherspoon Jr. is a Co-Founder and the Executive Director of the Automotive Training Center. Larry has held multiple leadership positions in the U. S. Navy and with Frito-Lay, a Fortune 100 company. He also has 5+ years of sales experience with Cintas, a Fortune 500 company.
In addition to his business experience, Larry grew up watching his father mentor young people. His father was a high-school teacher, coached multiple sports, and worked part-time at a juvenile detention facility. Larry grew up understanding the difficulties all young people face becoming adults especially those that come from challenging circumstances. ATC is a place where both of his passions can thrive. He has taken those experiences growing up and combined them with his passion for vehicles to start the Automotive Training Center.
Shawn McHargue is ATC’s other Co-Founder and is now our Student Support Director but also assists with teaching when needed. He started off working as a technician at a Pep-Boys, but his last position was as a technician at Anthem Automotive. Shawn also received his ASE Certificate while he was there and has since passed multiple more and has multiple Hunter Alignment certificates. He graduated from the University of Central Florida, with a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration, minored in Nonprofit Management and received his national certificate as a Nonprofit Leadership and Management Professional. Shawn’s technical and business expertise, along with his non-profit background create a unique skill set that suits him well in teaching students and managing the business side of ATC.
Shawn has always had a knack for building and repairing things. He enjoyed learning to work on his motorcycle and his own car. Shawn loves to help people in general and enjoys educating people about regular maintenance on their vehicles. To this day he is most passionate about training up the young men for their bright futures.
Jody Gibson brings over fifteen years of experience in the automotive industry to her role as an Entry-Level Technician Instructor. She began her career as a cashier in an independent quick lube shop, and she quickly worked her way up to technician and then manager. Jody’s management experience includes quick lube and repair facilities such as Jiffy Lube and Grease Monkey. Working alongside her husband, John, she has helped establish and maintain successful repair shops while mentoring and training the young employees who worked there.
Jody is enthusiastic about new learning opportunities at ATC. Although, she has over a decade of experience, multiple National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence certifications and is a certified Hunter Alignment Instructor. Jody is eager to share her knowledge and expertise with our students and looks forward to mentoring them and pushing them to their full potential.
John Gibson proudly serves as our Advanced-Level Technician Instructor. The Advanced- Level Technician (ALT) program is our newest program that launched at the end of 2020. John began repairing his own cars at an early age out of necessity. However, he soon discovered that he had a passion for auto repair. He realized that his hobby could support his family and was an outlet for his thirst for knowledge and continued learning.
He’s spent eleven years as a technician, and together with his wife Jody, he has opened and managed several automotive repair facilities throughout the southeast. He is proudly certified as a Master Technician and has multiple Hunter Alignment certifications. John prides himself most on passing his knowledge onto others to help them succeed in their careers and prosper within their communities. John is also passionate about gardening and landscaping in his free time.
Drew Galbreath joins ATC as our Service Advisor. He holds an Associate of Applied Science in Automotive Technology and brings unique auto experience to our team-including: researching valve materials, working with the Utah Valley University Race Team, and being a service advisor for a local Ford dealership. He grew up in a DIY household where he was always working on the family car and has always loved getting his hands dirty.
Drew currently lives in Covington, Ga with his wife Grace and their 2-year-old son, Maddox. Outside of work, he enjoys working on cars, spending time with family, riding four-wheelers and dirt bikes, and helping others.
Josh Scott has an interesting story. He first came to ATC as an Entry-Level Technician student, moved up and then completed the Advanced-Level Technician program. Josh impressed every instructor with his mechanical expertise and work ethic. Next, he was hired as an Entry-Level Technician Instructor. Josh is the first ATC student to be hired as an instructor! Josh has also passed multiple Hunter Alignment courses and is currently studying for his National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence certifications.
Josh is an Georgia native who has such a deep passion for cars that he always has a project he is tinkering with. He really looks forward to growing as a technician with an early start at a career he loves so much.
Melinda is our Student Support & Development Coordinator. She is instrumental in much of the work behind the scenes. She brings a wealth of skills to our team having managed multiple Starbucks, serving as an Advertising Assistant with the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and working at an accounting firm. Melinda assists Shawn with recruiting potential students and preparing them for graduation, and then job placement. Melinda also provides many other administrative tasks including involvement with the fundraising team. Melinda cherishes time with her two daughters, three dogs, and also enjoys spending time working in her yard.