Phone: 800.521.7158

Zeth Key- 2023 Hall of Fame Inductee

March 14, 2024

Zeth Key grew up in Sullivan, IL, where he went to Sullivan High School. His interest in working on cars started when he bought his first car, a 1977 Chevy Nova, a car he worked on with his dad.

In high school he took automotive technology classes and mentored at a GM/Chrysler dealership called HPR automotive.

A WyoTech recruiter came to his class to present about WyoTech, and went home enthusiastically telling his parents about WyoTech. That summer his parents took him out to visit and he was sold.

He graduated high school and decided to work for a year and save up some money so he and his high school sweetheart, Dawnaya, could get married after she graduated from high school and move to Laramie.

They got married at 18 and 19 years old on June 3, 2006 (HAPPY ANNIVERSARY).

Together they learned how to navigate married life 1,200 miles away from home in a small basement apartment in Laramie. In June of 2007, Zeth earned an associate degree in automotive technology, Chassis Fabrication, High-Performance Engines, and Business Management.

He achieved a 4.0 GPA, Perfect Attendance Award, Shop Leader Award, and was a recipient of the Outstanding Academic Achievement, and Leadership Award.

After graduation, Zeth and Dawnaya moved back to Sullivan, IL where he got a job as a service technician at HPR Automotive. He worked there for three years and got his Master ASE certification.

After the economy crashed in 2008, he changed his career path to better support his wife as she went to college. In June of 2010, he joined Sloan Implement in Atwood, IL to start his career working on John Deere Ag equipment.

He quickly fell in love with the green iron. After working there for six years and countless training hours, he earned his Master John Deere Service Technician certificate. In April of 2021, in honor of his best friend Jake, who passed away from cancer, he started a YouTube channel to promote the trades they both loved.

He wanted to show the world the technical side of agriculture and what it takes to keep the farmers running and inspire a younger generation to pick up a wrench and start a great career.

Zeth said “I never thought that it would explode in popularity as it did. In two years, the channel grew to 63,000 subscribers and 8 million views.”

He had to teach himself new skills in videography, video editing, and marketing. Through this channel he can promote John Deere, Sloan Implement, and WyoTech.

He has brought technicians into his dealership because of the YouTube videos and has had the privilege to inspire people from all over the globe to become Ag technicians. When he’s not at work keeping that green iron moving, helping to feed the world, you can find him at home spending time with his wife and two beautiful children, Zeryk and Zeya.

When we asked Zeth what advice he would give to people entering the trades, here is what he had to say:

Be the best student you can possibly be and set high goals. This will help you develop the correct mindset you need to become successful in the future and add value to yourself.

Learn how to be resourceful enough to teach yourself. You can’t be told how to fix everything. You need the ability to read the theory of operation and understand how the system you’re diagnosing works. Apply that knowledge to correct the problem. The quicker you become an independent thinker, the faster you will rise to the top tech position.

Understand you will not know everything when you graduate from school. You will need to humble yourself and treat every day as a learning day. Listen to the experienced techs and learn everything you can from them.

Develop great working relationships with people. One day it will come full circle to where you are teaching them new things.

Take your blinders off. Just because you graduated from the automotive program, doesn’t mean you can’t be a diesel tech, look at me. Learn how to be a great tech and you can apply that to any industry.

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