Skills development center houses auto mechanic shop

Cannon Connections: Alisa Boswell Staff Sgt. Richard Taylor of Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas, works on his car in the Cannon Air Force Base Auto Skills Center while he was in Clovis visiting family.

Alisa Boswell

New airmen to Cannon Air Force Base may not know there is a source of learning and auto service available right around the corner for base personnel and their spouses. It is the CAFB Skills Development Center, which houses an Auto Skills Center and a Framing and Engraving Center.

Leonard Marchman, a civilian who has worked at the Auto Skills Center for 16 years, has managed the skills center since 2002. Marchman said the skills center has been open almost as long as the base itself and such facilities are located at every Air Force Base worldwide.

Marchman said the venues offered at other skills centers vary depending on the base but can include wood shops, paint shops, ceramic shops and more. Marchman said he hopes to bring more to Cannon’s skill center one day, but he feels having the auto shop available to airmen has been a positive morale booster.

“It’s a do-it-yourself learning environment,” Marchman said. “It eliminates the peer pressure aspect of learning.”

As well as a shop for plaque and picture engraving, the facility offers an auto shop with every tool imaginable in which the customer can choose between letting the shop mechanics work on their car or doing it themselves.

Marchman said other than not allowing the painting of vehicles, the facility has no restrictions on what a customer can do or have done to their car. For $4 an hour, a member of the base can work on their own vehicle at the shop, using the car lifts and any tools they need.

Marchman said prices vary when the shop provides the maintenance and shop personnel provide free general maintenance for military dependents with spouses overseas. Individuals can also come into the shop for help and instruction if they want to learn more about auto mechanics.

Staff Sgt. Richard Taylor, of Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, Texas, was a first time visitor to the shop Friday afternoon.

“It’s got everything I need,” Taylor said. “It’s a good shop.”

Senior Airman Daniel Fournir, a CAFB mechanic, said he is a regular at the shop.

“Mechanics, I love it, Fournir said. “And coming here is awesome. There’s great people here.”

Another regular at the shop is Senior Airman Justin Turner, who said he loves having the shop available to him.

“I love auto mechanics,” Turner said. “Especially being a senior airman, you can’t always afford tools and things, so being able to come here where there’s all the tools you could want is great. I love it.”

Operating hours for the Auto Skills Center are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. For more information, call the center at 784-2170.