Rhode Island Tech Named MAHLE Champion

MAHLE Clevite Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich., has named Derek Martel of Cumberland, R.I. the second annual MAHLE Clevite Champion Technician.

Martel was awarded the title based on his entry in the MAHLE Clevite Champion Technician contest, which is designed to honor the skills and experience of engine technicians and specialists nationwide. He was selected based on a short essay submission that detailed his passion, experience and career accomplishments as an engine specialist, according to a company press release.

“Derek Martel is truly a ‘champion’ in every sense of the word,” said Ted Hughes, marketing manager for MAHLE Clevite. “Not only has he advanced his career and education in engine technology, but he has done so with admirable drive and passion. We are pleased to present Derek with this award and wish him continued success.”

Martel graduated at the top of his class with an associate degree in advanced automotive technology from the New England Institute of Technology, where he currently works as an instructor. There he developed a “High Performance Program” while furthering his education with a bachelor’s degree in automotive service management.

Martel’s champion status is further exemplified by his ability to strive and achieve such accomplishments by overcoming personal obstacles. He suffers from Retinitis Pigmentosa, a non-curable eye disease that progresses to total blindness, the release said.

“My eyesight has failed to the point that I require electronic magnification to read and see print size that anyone else would not have a problem with. Some people use poor eyesight as a reason why not to do things they enjoy, but it won’t stop me. I don’t let this slow me down,” he said.

As MAHLE Clevite Champion Technician, Martel received a VIP trip for two to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion’s Week in Las Vegas Nov. 28-Dec. 1. His other prizes included a meet and greet with NASCAR drivers Greg Biffle and Stephen Leicht, and tickets to various NASCAR races and events.

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