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Lonnie Barnes Joins OCC as Collision Repair Instructor

Lonnie Barnes PhotoLonnie Barnes, of Greenup, has joined Olney Central College as its new Collision Repair Technology instructor.

A graduate of the program, he brings more than 28 years of auto body experience to the classroom. Barnes served as an adjunct instructor at OCC during the fall semester and had previously been employed at Probst Auto Body. During his career, Barnes has worked as a body and refinish technician, office manager and production manager at various shops. He also holds a number of industry-related certifications.

“I like the contact with the students and being able to give them the knowledge they need to succeed,” Barnes said. “Learning is something ongoing. It doesn’t stop when you begin teaching or working in a shop. You have to keep current.”

Teaching is a natural fit for Barnes. A longtime member of the Greenup Fire Department, he serves as an explorer advisor training and assisting the department’s junior members.

“I always enjoyed passing my knowledge on to them and that has extended to the Collision Repair Program,” he added.

Barnes sees an overwhelming need for collision repair and other technical programs, which can provide students with the skills needed to enter the workforce without a four-year degree.

“I feel there isn’t enough emphasis on technical programs,” he said. “Our industry has suffered for a lack of qualified technicians. The last job I was at it took eight or nine months before we were able to hire someone.”

Barnes added, “Olney is one of only a few collision repair programs in the area. I chose to become an instructor because I want to see it go forward. Collision repair is a good field to get into and make a good living.”

Before attending OCC, Barnes worked in a factory.

“I didn’t like it,” he said. “I always liked working with cars and one morning while driving to work I decided to go to school for collision repair.”

Barnes encourages anyone interested in the Collision Repair Technology Program to contact him.

“I would be glad to talk to them and take them around the facilities anytime,” he said.

For more information about the program, contact Barnes at 618-395-7777, ext. 2510.

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