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Editorial Correction: On page 34 of the September 2014 issue of Mobile Electronics, one of our writers wrote a comment about Compustar’s lack of contact availability to its customers. Compustar has responded by explaining that direct lines are not available on the website to better help them focus on their vendors and to supply the highest level of customer service. We apologize for the error and will do our best to avoid such wording in future issues.

In response, the company submitted a statement regarding its support for vendors:

“Compustar has launched an easy-to-use support terminal at that gears towards answering the most basic and most advanced questions regarding our products. The support terminal also features a ticketing system that allows us to receive customer inquiries, even outside of office hours. 

Our toll-free number is (888) 820-3690 and is primarily reserved to supporting our retail and distribution partners. We pride ourselves on providing excellent installer support, and are more than willing to walk our installers through even the most complicated install jobs. 

Dealers who are interested in learning more about Compustar can call us at our Toll-Free number or e-mail us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to learn more about joining our award-winning team.”

In the June issue of Mobile Electronics magazine, an incorrect description was used within the MECP News section on page 52. The name and description read, "Shawn Curlee, Product Development Manager, Directed." However, the text should have read, "Shawn Curlee, MECP Master Installer, Jack Demmer Ford." We at Mobile Electronics apologize for the error and have corrected the mistake.

The June MECP News editorial is below, with the corrected information included:

Shawn Curlee, MECP Master Installer, Jack Demmer Ford

Im a MECP Master Installer with 17 years experience working in the mobile electronics industry. I have worked in the install bay, also for Best Buy corporate in a Tech Support role, and now I am an Engine Performance Mechanic at a high-volume Ford Dealership in Michigan.

I hold an elite position in the service line, one typically earned through years of step-up positions within the service department. My Master Installer, ASE and state certifications, along with my experience in car audio installation qualified me to step right into this position. And although I am now Ford certified and attend ongoing manufacturer and vendor training, the core competencies I learned through earning my Master Installer certification are still the most important skills I rely on in my day-to-day work.

Looking back over my career as a technician, I have a few pieces of advice for those just starting out:

1. Find a niche. You need a niche in order to make yourself valuable. I suggest specializing in something that will be in demand for the foreseeable future. For example, if you are knowledgeable about electric principles and diagnosing circuits, there will be a demand for you. Many mechanics and techs struggle with theories and concepts and the demand for these skills is high. Always remember that you may not be the fastest, but tenacity and repetition will make you faster. Dont be the tech that never has the time to do it right the first time, but always has time to fix it. Be thorough and consistent.

2. Network. Talk to people—in your shop, down the street, and in your industry. You may be surprised at how much free information is available to you and how strong you can make personal and business relationships with some face-to-face conversation. This may also help break down barriers between you and competitors. Dont get me wrong, a little competition between rivals is a great motivator, but you should be able to lean on each other if there is a customer experience on the line. After all, customers are why we are in this business. Take care of the customer and keep them coming back.

3. Share what you know. As tempting as it is to hoard what you’ve learned as a way to create a niche for yourself, this practice is not sustainable in the long run. Theres so much thats not written down, and at some point you will need to ask for help. If you consistently lend a hand, then you wont feel awkward asking for help when you need it. If your coworker sees youre willing to help him, you can feel at ease asking for his help. You have so much to share, yet so much to learn. As I like to say, its our job to always be training our replacement.

4. Get certified. Products and vehicles have changed drastically, yet despite their increased complexity, in many ways integrating aftermarket components with OEM systems is becoming simpler and simpler. Vehicle-specific interfaces and plug-and-play modules make our work easier, but they also mean we know less and less about how they actually work. This makes for quite a challenge troubleshooting them when they dont work as we expect. It also makes troubleshooting legacy systems very challenging for those newer to the industry. One of the biggest under-appreciated aspects of becoming MECP certified is mastering the basics of electrical theory and installation. Understanding how and why a component works, not just how to connect it, is vitally important to your career.

5. Be in the moment. Making myself less connected may seem like counterculture, but putting my phone down is one of the best things I ever did for my career. Between email, texts, social media and online forums, my mind was always somewhere else. Being in the now, giving my full attention to my colleagues and customers and taking advantage of learning opportunities made a huge difference in my work and in how I feel about myself. You don’t have to abandon technology altogether, but making time to live in the moment opens doors. Try it.

These strategies have worked for me and I hope one or more of them will help you find increased success in your career, too. Thanks for reading.

Read the complete June issue of Mobile Electronics HERE.

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