Auto technician earns elite honor


Last updated 10/3/2023 at 11:07am

Photo by Jim Cornelius

Chad Van Handel has been named Technet Professional ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year.

Working on vehicles has been a lifelong passion for Chad Van Handel of Van Handel Automotive in Sisters.

"I grew up just working on engines - motorcycles, cars," he recalled. He says the satisfaction he gains from the work "really hasn't changed. When you fix something that's broken, there's a lot of satisfaction that you fixed it - you identified it; you fixed it."

He's always strived for excellence in his work, beginning with completing the auto program at Chemeketa Community College and starting off doing oil changes in 1997. He worked for 15 years for Capital Auto Group in Salem before coming to Sisters. Now he's being acknowledged as one of the elite of his profession.

Van Handel was recently honored as the Technet Professional ASE Master Automobile Technician of the Year. He'll fly to Florida in November for an awards banquet, which comes with a $3,000 recognition.

ASE certification - Automotive Service Excellence - is awarded by the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, and signifies complete proficiency in the full spectrum of automotive repair.

"That entity exists to produce qualified personnel," Van Handel explained. "It's important for me that my guys are ASE certified, for sure."

Those who pass ASE certifications are "definitely a qualified professional," he said.

Van Handel stood out from the field.

"Apparently I scored extremely high nationwide," he said.

Van Handel is ASE certified as a Master Technician and Advanced Level Specialist. The technician had no idea that he had earned the honor until a large group of Technet representatives visited the shop to present the award.

"I was really humbled," he said.

Van Handel says he "kind of followed in my dad's footsteps here." He and his wife, Katie, moved to Sisters in November of 2016 and purchased Van Handel Automotive in January of 2018 from Tom and Cheryl Van Handel.

An avid outdoorsman and a quiet professional, Van Handel isn't one to seek the spotlight that the industry shined on him for this achievement.

"I'm extremely grateful," he said. "I don't like publicity that much, but it's a great feeling."

Van Handel Automotive is located at 127 W. Sisters Park Dr. in Sisters. Visit

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

Author photo

Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


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