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Best in the Nation: Halvorson named top Nissan Certified Mechanic

Three Forks resident Andy Halvorson was recently named the top Nissan Certified Mechanic in the United States.

Halvorson, who works at Billion Auto Group in Bozeman, took home the top honor after competing against regional winners at the recent Nissan Service Technical Excellence Competency (NISTEC) National Competition in Nashville. He was one of over 13,000 Nissan technicians who competed in 2023. Halvorson has won an all-expense paid trip to Japan with the first-place finish.

Halvorson, 35, has been fixing cars with his dad since he was very young. A 2006 Cut Bank High School graduate, Halvorson took a small engines class at the school. He has also been racing dirt circle tracks in Cut Bank, Great Falls, and Belgrade since the age of 13.

Halvorson graduated from WyoTech in 2007 and worked for two years at Bell Chevrolet in Cut Bank before moving to Bozeman for a job as an entry-level mechanic working on GMs at Billion Auto Group.

"I was here for a couple of years when the Nissan Master Tech was let go and they had nobody to fill the position. I drove a Nissan, so they asked in 2010 if I would do the job," Halvorson said.

Since taking the position, he has gained Master Tech Status as well as Nissan Invest in the Best Top Performer status based on customer service/feedback.

According to Halvorson, the journey to nationals started at the custom survey level and his "Fixed Right First Time" scores earned him a place among the top 30 out of the 13,000 in the country.

He was one of five in the Western Region to take a competency test to qualify for Nationals and ended up with the highest score, qualifying him for the competition in Nashville against the top techs from the four other regions.

Halvorson said there were four "bugged cars" at the competition they had to diagnose and repair in a 45-minute time period for each vehicle.

"At each curtained-off station, two Nissan judges were watching and recording every move made by me, which made me quite nervous," he said.

During the awards dinner, Halvorson said after they announced third and second place, the winner was described as someone who took the steps differently than the others by paying very close attention to electrical details.

"Then he announced I was the winner, and I was completely shocked that I could have accomplished this achievement," he said.

While Japan has never been on his radar as somewhere to visit, Halvorson said his children who attend Three Forks Elementary School are excited and hopeful they can get to join on the trip.

"We are working with Peder Billion and Nissan to do what we can to get them to come with us for the awards ceremony in Japan, which has the national winners for the other countries in the world," Halvorson said.

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