Alamosa native Scott Clayton finds success at Adams State and under the hood of a car

(03-19-2018)

scott clayton adjusting a part on a vehicle motor at Automotive Concepts he kneels on the floor working on the motor with the garage behind him

Scott Clayton is geared up and ready to drive his great story right into the automotive industry. The Alamosa native will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in physics, and he's using the degree to further his lifelong passion for cars by pursuing a position as an automotive field service engineer.

His natural talent in mathematics has helped him advance his other natural talent, diagnosing the problem with a car. Now that he's combined his math skills with his automotive skills, he becomes one of the most marketable college graduates around, with the skills and ability to work on new technology that is the hallmark of today's automotive industry.

Talk about being relevant in the 21st century.

"It was hard at first, especially adjusting to school while continuing to work full time," Clayton said of his journey through Adams State. "But I am inherently good with math, and soon realized it was not too difficult. The upper level classes have been more challenging, but not impossible."

The son of the late Don Clayton, owner of Alamosa Motor Parts, and Cathi Lucero-Connell, Scott Clayton received an associate's degree from WyoTech immediately after graduating from Alamosa High School. He has spent the past six years working full-time at Automotive Concepts, and while working there decided he needed to go back to school to learn more and stay competitive with the design and engineering of today's cars and trucks.

Enter Adams State, where great stories begin.

ASU physics professor Robert Astalos, Ph.D., said Clayton always had a handle on what was going on in class. "On group electronics projects, he took on the hardest assignments and tasks, finished first, and moved on to tackle harder problems. In theory classes, he was always able to answer my questions."

"He had very good intuition and an ability to grasp complex mathematical concepts," added ASU mathematics professor Tony Weathers, Ph.D. "He was, of course, a very good student - attentive in class, responding to questions, participating in discussions. I think he could be successful in graduate school if he chose to pursue it."

Automotive Concepts owner Jeff Escheman appreciates Clayton's skill level and motivation. "He is really articulate and enjoys the challenge of electric and complicated issues we have here. He is a good person to be around. I believe he will succeed in whatever he does."

Clayton sometimes has helped out his Adams State professors with their vehicle issues. He has worked on both Astalos' truck and his wife's car. "He has answered questions for me several times, informally before or after class, helping me get an idea of what is going on with our vehicles."

Clayton suggested Weather's install a Subaru engine in his VW bus. "Diagnostics is my favorite aspect of mechanics," Clayton said. "My classes have helped with problem solving, which flows naturally into diagnostics, which is my thing, what I do at work all the time."

Weathers believes Clayton will achieve his professional goals. "With his attitude, ability, experience, and education, he will go far in the automotive industry." Astalos agrees: "Scott will be successful at whatever goal he sets. He's self-motivated, hard-working, and, to be frank, very smart."

Within the next five years, Clayton plans on being a well-established field service engineer working for Subaru, or another auto industry giant. "When dealership technicians can't solve a problem, then the field service engineer is called in, for high-level diagnostics."

His next step after Adams State spring commencement will be to finish certifications in the Automotive Society of Engineers, eventually earning a master technician certification. "What I learned at ASU has prepared me to be able to understand books and topics and to have the ability to develop skills to be successful in the next step of my career."

For current and future students of Adams State, Clayton has one message: "Make the most of what you're learning and work towards what you want to do."