G. Mark’s Answer
In the garages I worked in, there were a couple of very telling characteristics of a technician that was considered "top of the class" so to speak. One was the technical specialty the person worked on. Transmission rebuilders, diagnosticians, performance experts who worked on those cars, etc.. The other was whether the other mechanics would come to this person for advice. When there was a perplexing problem in the garage where I worked, people would go to ask "Tony". This guy had been a mechanic for about 20 years at the time, but it wasn't the time that made him special. It was his love of the machines and the fact that he would think about cars every waking hour. He'd read about them, he'd spend time with the engineers who came from the headquarters, he'd rebuild his own cars. This was his passion. Machines. That's what makes you stand out. Doing what you love and loving what you do. It rubs off on others. It also enthuses the next generation of professionals to then make others happy.