Top Performer: MATC Automotive Instructor Scott Fisler Wins National Award

Faculty member honored for personal dedication and commitment to students and the automotive industry

Mark Feldmann,

January 19, 2024

Above and beyond describes Scott’s dedication to all our students, his school and the industry. He has made so many contributions over the years; it’s difficult to recount them all.

Steve Herro Associate dean and project manager, MATC Drive program

Scott Fisler got his first job working with cars when he was in high school at Zimdars Motors. But he quickly found out that loving cars wasn’t enough – he had to learn about them. So his boss, Harold Zimdars, sent him to night school.

“That impressed on me the value of training, certifications and mentoring,” said Fisler, a full-time automotive instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College since 2014. “My career path and accomplishments are a result of that encouragement.”

This fall, Fisler added another achievement to his 40-year career: He was named the 2023 Byrl Shoemaker Instructor of the Year by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent, nonprofit organization that works to improve the quality of vehicle repair and service by testing and certifying automotive professionals.

The Byrl Shoemaker award recognizes a high school or college instructor from an ASE-accredited automotive, diesel/truck or collision repair program who demonstrates excellence through their personal dedication and commitment to students who have chosen to pursue careers in the automotive service industry.

“The Shoemaker award is a once-in-a-lifetime achievement for those outstanding instructors whose work reflects the same dedication to technical education as modeled by Dr. Shoemaker,” ASE Education Foundation President Mike Coley said.

Shoemaker was director of vocational and adult education at the Ohio Department of Education from 1962 to 1982. He was a major contributor to education and helped develop the state’s system of career technical education programs.

Fisler received a plaque and $1,000 at ASE's board of directors meeting on November 15, 2023, in Clearwater, Florida. 

“I enjoy teaching and I’m passionate about it,” Fisler said. “Getting this award is very humbling for me. I see this as a reward for our whole department being able to work so well together. We have an amazing group of instructors at MATC, and we all have our strengths.”

Fisler’s asset is reaching out to the community to attract new students, connecting with employers in the region to create a talent pipeline, and increasing the visibility of MATC’s automotive programs.

“Scott is deserving of recognition, but is one who would never seek it out,” said Steve Herro, an MATC associate dean and project manager of the college’s MATC Drive program who nominated Fisler for the award. “Above and beyond describes Scott’s dedication to all our students, his school and the industry. He has made so many contributions over the years; it’s difficult to recount them all.”

Before he became an instructor, Fisler worked at several auto dealerships over three decades and served on MATC’s Automotive Advisory Committee. From 1999 to 2013, he taught part time at MATC to find talented technicians for his dealerships. “I developed a good model to help hire people we needed,” he said. “When I started teaching full time, I flipped the model to attract students to MATC and connect them with jobs.”

Over the past 10 years Fisler created the PEAK Hot Rod Crew, an after-school club where students can work on their own cars and projects; became chief judge in the Technicians of Tomorrow skills competition; helped develop MATC Drive, a multimillion dollar, privately-funded program to recruit students into the automotive industry; and helped design the MATC Al Hurvis/PEAK Transportation Center at the Downtown Milwaukee Campus.

He also created the MATC Community Diagnostic Days event, where students, led by industry and alumni mentors, offer free multipoint inspections to residents in and around downtown Milwaukee and routinely visit high schools to promote the auto servicing industry and MATC’s training programs. 

On his visits and in his classes, Fisler looks for future technicians who are curious, like to solve problems, love using their hands, feel satisfied with a job well done, and enjoy helping people. 

“He (Fisler) has a natural ability to relate to students of all backgrounds and ages,” said Rebecca Alsup-Kingery, dean of MATC’s Manufacturing, Construction & Transportation Pathway. “That really helps students trust what he says so they can see the value of a career in automotive servicing.”

“I really enjoy taking someone who has zero knowledge about cars and helping them become someone who can get hired as an entry-level technician,” Fisler said. “Within five years, they could be making nearly $100,000 a year. We’re helping people get ready for a career. I find that very satisfying.”

Learn about MATC’s automotive programs

About MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 30,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 180 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.