DAY 1: Interactive Mobile Training The Group Training Academy EV Tour

March 3, 2021

When The Group Training Academy (TGTA) announced the idea of a training tour in March to kick-off what we hope will be an opportunity to bring live, instructor-led training to techs across the nation, little did I know my involvement level, both logistically and physically.

My name is Micheal Smyth, and I'm the Direct of Training for TGTA powered by AVI. My road-warrior compadre and instructor extraordinaire John Forro, are embarking on a six-stop, Covid-safe, multi-location training trek to bring TGTA's live electric and hybrid-electric training program to interested technicians.

Our first stop is here at our host organization, the Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology, in Lewistown, Pennsylvania.

Supporting this training gauntlet is a little more complicated than you might think, as John and I are traveling mostly by our nation's highway, pulling The Group's enclosed box trailer full of training goodies with our home-away-from-home, our 2020 F350 SuperDuty Dualie that keeps us safe on the road.

We love this truck.

I left my home office in Morgantown, West Virginia, in the wee hours of the 1st, drove the truck and trailer the two hours to the Pittsburgh International Airport, and picked up John, who had flown in his home in Ohio to begin our journey. Let's just say that negotiating an International airport's arrival gates driving one of the world's longest and widest pickup trucks AND pulling a 26-foot box trailer is not for the faint of heart. However, after picking up John and his offering of Little Debbie snack cakes, we hit the road for our relatively short, three-hour drive to the first training location.

Set for 5 pm to 9 pm for the 1st and 2nd, we had just enough time to check into our hotel before driving to the training location to set up for the evening's class. John would be presenting to a select group of technicians sponsored by Federated in a two-day session on both basic and advanced diagnostic techniques for hybrid and hybrid-electric vehicles. Assisted by our main point of contact at the school, instructor Doug Stimely and Federated's fantastic support team of Kevin Prouse and Jonathon Specht, we quickly unpacked the class's training tools and curricula.

I stood by the wayside as John presented a great first day, covering basic safety, hybrid, and electric vehicle configurations and then drilling down into the more complex systems that EVs have. John finished up the night by inviting our participants to disassemble a Toyota Prius Converter/Inverter in a class practical exercise, explaining the internal workings as the deactivated component shed its layers.

At the end of the session, John and I packed-up for the late drive back to our hotel and began preparation for the following day's session. We did stop by a local grocery as we were all out of snack cakes and Diet Pepsi for the Talent. Our first day, which started at 5 am and ended at 11 pm, could not have gone better, and I hope that we can keep that good karma ball rolling.

Stay tuned to this blog, as we hope to bring you updates on this tour as it goes, both the good and not-so-good, all the way through to its' conclusion on March 27 in Fort Myers, Florida, TGTA's world headquarters. Tomorrow's update will introduce a training tool that genuinely brings that added level of information we all love to see in a live training session.

If you are interested in finding out how to bring TGTA live training to your area, contact us at Phone: 1-800-718-7246 | Email: We will be adding tour stops for the EV classes and additional content on such topics as advanced diesel diagnostics, ADAS, and light, medium, and heavy-duty braking systems.

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