Fixing things, and seeing how mechanical things work, have always been of interest to Justin Beaulieu, owner of JTB Towing in Wells River, Vermont; even before he completed the River Bend Career and Technical Center’s Automotive Technology Program. Justin recalled taking an old lawn mower totally apart when he was eight or nine years old. He cleaned, replaced and even sandblasted the various parts, with his dad’s help and guidance; and was able to re-assemble the mower and get it running! Later, Justin worked in the farming community. He enjoyed this work, particularly repairing and servicing farm equipment to keep the operation running smoothly.
When Justin moved from elementary school to Oxbow High School, he already knew he wanted to attend River Bend Career and Technical Center’s Automotive Technology Program, as soon as it was possible. Knowing that full-time programs were only available to high school juniors and seniors at the time, (this has since changed so that sophomores are now eligible for acceptance) he met many times with his guidance counselor to try to convince her to allow him to start a little earlier in his high school career. Persistence paid off, as he was allowed to attend the Automotive Technology Program as a sophomore for a 45-minute class, five days each week! Continuing to the full-time Auto program for his junior and senior year, Justin graduated from this program in June 2004.
After high school, Justin went on to Lakes Region Community College for his Associates Degree in Automotive Technology. At the time, this program was organized by General Motors and students worked in three-month blocks. The first block was spent taking college-level classes at the Laconia campus, while the second block was spent working in a dealership, applying the knowledge learned, as well as gaining hands-on experience. The corporate training and dealership experience were invaluable for Justin’s growth and development. Many of the college classes related to running a business have proved very important, as well.
While on his practical rotation from Lakes Region Community College at H.O. Taylor Chevrolet (now Wells River Chevrolet), Justin expressed an interest in the flat-bed truck being used for picking up disabled vehicles. With some basic information, some ride-a-long time, and his experience in running the corn-chopping truck on the farm, Justin began making his own pick-ups and deliveries for the dealership. Justin found that he really enjoyed helping people who were in need and where he could provide some assistance with his skills. This realization helped him prepare for his next step along his career path.
After graduation, Justin looked at possible employment opportunities and made the decision to start his own wrecker and hauling business. He purchased his first truck from Paul Ordway (PTO’s in Bradford, Vermont) and was soon “in business” and receiving calls for assistance. His business has continued to grow, by knocking on doors, working with other operators, but mostly from “word of mouth” advertising from satisfied customers. At this point, Justin now runs both a large wrecker and a small wrecker, as well as two flatbed haulers, operating from the Wells River Industrial Park. He gets referrals from the state police and has attended a number of safety training that the police initiate for wrecker operators. Safety is a prime concern, not only for himself, but for the owners of the vehicles he is retrieving at the scene of the incident. He doesn’t seem to mind the late night hours. Another former River Bend Automotive Technology Student, Brian Newton, sometimes steps in to help during busy times.
As Justin looks to the future, he feels he would like to continue to grow his business. He has diversified a bit by working with junk car salvage, work for automotive dealers, and doing on-road battery replacement; as well as helping stranded motorists and accident scene assistance. Recently JTB Towing has become an on-call AAA member.
Justin shared a story of a call he received on Thanksgiving afternoon this year. There was an individual who had blown a tire on the interstate and limped into a local truck stop. That person had a spare, but it was flat and would not fit on the car she was driving. After finding no one to respond to various calls, she was able to reach Justin, who was having dinner with friends and family in Barre, Vermont. Justin told her to sit tight and he would give her a hand. This involved going to a store to buy a new tire, but eventually the person was ready to go and back on the road, grateful for Justin’s help. Justin says that he always gets a good feeling that he has the skills ready to help someone else in need. Justin Beaulieu’s ability to go the extra mile for people is really the heart of JTB Towing’s success, and River Bend Career and Technical Center are extremely proud to feature him this month!