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Matrix Trade Institute is licensed under the Ohio State Board of Career Colleges and Schools Registration No. 2144, and Member of Beachwood Chamber of Commerce  Matrix Trade Institute, LLC BBB Business Review

Meet the Team

Dustin M. Peugeot

Co-Founder, CEO

Dustin has over 24 years’ experience working with some of the top automotive manufacturers and dealers in the industry in Detroit, Chicago, Indianapolis and Cleveland. After rising to the level of Senior Partner with one of the world’s largest automotive marketing firms, he transitioned to the retail auto business and successfully operated dealerships and became a C-Level executive in charge of personnel and operations for over 500 employees and eight franchises for the Liberty Auto Group in Cleveland. He is recognized as a driven leader, specializing in recruiting, team building, organizational development and process efficiency with a proven ability to impact business in a positive way. He's served on the Board of Directors for the Northeast Ohio Ford Dealers Association, a member of the Greater Cleveland Automotive Dealers Association and is a current Board of Directors Member for the Cleveland Boys and Girls Club. Dustin's experience and network provide a unique advantage for MTI students by giving them opportunities to work for the industry's best employers upon graduation. 

Richard A. Blum

Co-Founder, COO

Rick’s resume is the model for opportunity and advancement achievable for an automotive technician, with over 25 years’ experience in automotive repair. As a product of a vocational trade school education himself, Rick has performed at the highest level for the industry’s top brands, including Firestone, Buick, GMC, Toyota, Chevrolet and Ford. His efficiency formula has made him a top producer as a Technician, Master Technician, GM Certified Technician, Service Manager and Service Director. Rick’s unique ability to identify efficiencies, passion for improving processes and training technicians catapulted him into management where he consistently improved the productivity of every entry-level and veteran technician under his supervision.  His trademarked M-TIME efficiency formula is proven to make technicians, both in the automotive field and beyond, more effective, which leads to earning more on an hourly, daily, annual and career basis. 

Tracy Macek

Director of Campus Operations

Tracy is a hands-on leader committed to developing, mentoring, and coaching students and staff in both personal and professional endeavors. She has 25 years of marketing and leadership practice with over 10 years in Higher Education. Her passion centers on a student first philosophy to ensure individuals can leverage education and training to enhance their lives. She understands the needs of students in both the online and classroom settings, having been both student and faculty. During her 7 years of college instruction, she was recognized for outstanding performance in the classroom based on Student End of Course Surveys. She brings this dedication to MTI as the Director of Campus Operations.

In today’s economy, 7 out of ten jobs are in the technical trades with the demand for entry level technicians exceeding current supply. Tracy understands this demand and has experience working in the trade school setting ensuring career development and placement opportunities. Her and her husband also own a local welding and fabrication shop and have done work for Ford and General Motors. This experience enhances her dedication to an industry with growing demand that can be met through education and training.   

Scott W. Clemson

Director of Collision Repair

With over 32 years of experience across the collision industry, Scott’s passion has allowed him to develop the necessary efficiency skills needed for career advancement. He got his start as an auto body and paint technician in a family-owned collision shop as a teenager before moving into management positions as a shop foreman and later as a territory and technical sales manager. He went on to become general manager and CEO of 14 paint and body parts supply shops in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Throughout his career, Scott developed a very successful shop performance management system that helped achieve industry-leading cycle times. He later developed an intelligent ordering barcode inventory management system which allowed him to further provide cutting-edge management tools to help shops improve their performance and profitability. Scott has built a vast network with collision shops and auto dealers during his tenure in the industry, which helps him place technicians in top shops in the area. At Matrix Trade Institute, Scott looks forward to bringing his vast knowledge to students studying under his auto collision curriculum.

William Whitman

Director of Admissions

For nearly 20 years, Bill Whitman has dedicated his life to helping others achieve their dreams by helping them pursue post-secondary education opportunities from small privately-owned schools to the largest institutions in the industry, including Baran Institute of Technology, Universal Technical Institute, and Ohio Technical College. Bill’s motto: “If you help enough people reach their goals, you’ll reach your own goals naturally.” This type of servant leadership is evident every day in the energy and enthusiasm he brings to everything he does and his total focus of always doing what is in the best interest of the student.  As the Director of Admissions, Bill cites Matrix Trade Institute’s “learn to earn”’ philosophy, employer partnerships, accelerated hands-on efficiency training with tools in a textbook-free environment as the disruption he knew the industry needed and is excited to be a part of.  Bill looks forward to many years of continued employment-based career outcomes for the students and families he represents daily.

Rheme Slater

Associate Director of Student Services and Academics

Rheme has five years experience working in the education industry. She has always had a passion for helping others, and working with students has helped her to fulfill this calling. Rheme holds an Associate of Arts from Cuyahoga Community College (2014) and earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology (2018) from South University while working in a college setting as a receptionist. Rheme drew inspiration from witnessing students start their educational journey, as she helped them in the process, which led her to continue in her own learning. Her depth of knowledge, within the collegiate setting, is worth noting, as she has worked with students in the roles of Student Success Coordinator, Financial Aid Advisor, and Admissions Manager. From her exposure to the world of automotive technology, she recognizes the high demand for this field. She has witnessed, first hand, the value derived from students completing their college programs and going on to excel in a variety of careers. Rheme believes that first impressions are important, at Matrix, you’ll find her welcoming each enrolled student with a smile, while helping them on their road to new beginnings.

Jennifer Jacobson

Director of Career Services

Jennifer’s background comes with many years of customer service, sales, and education. She is a licensed teacher with the state of Ohio and has also worked in higher education as an Assistant Director of Admissions. She is passionate about helping students “think outside the box” in order to fulfill their goals of completing their program(s) of choice and securing the position of their dreams. Jennifer was raised and worked in the automotive industry as her father worked for General Motors for decades before purchasing his first dealership, Crestmont Cadillac, in 1976. Her father later added Porsche, Audi, Toyota, Rolls Royce, Chrysler, and Sterling dealerships to his group where Jennifer also worked. She also has experience working the Cleveland Auto Shows.

Jennifer has degrees in both Education from Ursuline College and Automotive Marketing from Northwood University where she graduated Summa Cum Laude and was the first female in the history of the school to be awarded with the Outstanding Automotive Graduate of all automotive degrees honor. 

Greg Kozarik

Admissions Representative

Greg Kozarik has spent over 12 years in college recruiting. He has not only helped students follow their dreams in typical post-secondary college setting but also the technical post-secondary route as well. His ability to relate to students of all ages has helped in his success. He also has a large personality and loves to make people laugh. Greg loves public speaking whether it in a high school classroom or to a large crowd of people. Prior to college recruiting, Greg spent his first 13 years after college as a reporter in Northeast OhioGreg is a graduate of Cleveland State University and Valley Forge high school where he took Automotive. He has a true passion for helping people and loves to help students with finding what makes them successful.  

Rick Datillo

Lead Instructor Supervisor 

Rick is no stranger to the automobile world. His passion started at the age of 10 building go-karts. By the time Rick was 14, he had moved on to fixing up cars. He graduated from Euclid High School and attended Willoughby-Eastlake Technical Center for the Electronics program. In 2010, Rick opened his own automotive repair shop while also performing as a service writer at a local dealership. After two years, Rick was promoted to Service Manager, where he remained until his transition to the MTI team as Lead Instructor Supervisor. When visiting MTI, you’ll find Rick helping students solve problems, tracking student progress, and connecting with the students as they work toward learning the skills and efficiencies needed to have a rewarding career.

Jim Azre

Instructor

Jim’s wealth of knowledge makes him an incredible addition to Matrix Trade Institute. A product of a trade school himself, his education began with the two-year Automotive Trade School Program from Willoughby-South High School. With 23 years of experience, Jim is certified as an ASE Master Level Automotive Technician and has continued to advance his at every interval of an outstanding career. In addition to his success as a master technician, Jim has excelled as  as a Service Advisor, Team Leader and trainer having trained and instructed with the industry's top brands including Audi, Porsche, Subaru, Ford and General Motors. He says the most rewarding aspect of his career is preparing technicians with efficiency skills required to advance and earn on flat-rate pay plans, so they can reach their full earning potential. At Matrix, you’ll find him working with the students hands-on in the shop educating them daily on how to perform with maximum efficiency.

Jon Deacon

Instructor

Jon has 14 years of experience in the collision industry. Starting at a “mom and pop” shop to working for one of the industries biggest MSO’s, Jon has extensive knowledge of the business inside and out, from being on the floor as a technician, to managing a multi-million dollar shop.  At 14 years old Jon took his plunge into the collision realm starting as a painter and fell in love with the business. By the end of his 7 year path painting was the head painter at his shop, where he then spent 4 years furthering his knowledge of the business by moving into the office and becoming an estimator, handling the company’s biggest direct repairs while mastering how each and every insurance company handles their claims. While an estimator, Jon also was working to help in the parts department as well as production management. After four years of being the companies highest producing estimator, his latest experience was that of a Body Shop Manager. While there he strengthened relations with multiple insurance direct repairs and contracting business from dealerships he had relationships with. Jon lead his shop to become highly efficient and profitable all while keeping a happy and fun work environment. Jon is ecstatic to start his new journey with Matrix and be a productive member of the team.

Brian Wurstner

Instructor

Brian's experience comes from over 15 years in the automotive industry. He began his journey as a tire and lube tech at a local repair facility while attending auto repair training classes. With the right training he grew his automotive knowledge and completed many different certification levels as a master automotive technician. After working for a dealership as a journeyman service technician and operating his own auto repair business Brian accepted a job as a service advisor. It wasn't long when the company had an opening for a service manager position and he was then asked to bring his knowledge and energy to the table and manage the team. Over several years he was able to achieve the manufactures highest award ranking in the top 20 nationally in 2017 and 2019. Always having a passion for the industry Brian decided to bring his knowledge and energy to the Matrix Trade Institute where he plans to develop automotive service technicians and prepare them for their career. Brian will teach auto repair technicians and service advisors the necessary skills needed to become successful in this industry and is committed to your future. 

Shawn Cocchi

Instructor

Shawn has 14 years of experience in the automotive industry. He spend 5 years as a warranty admin and 9 years as a service advisor. Previously, he spent 4 years in the army on active duty and 9 years in the Ohio National Guard. Outside of work, Shawn hunts, fishes, and rides jet skis and ATVs with his family - including his wife and three sons. A few of his favorite quote are "Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision" said by Sir Winston Churchill.

Mitch Olinn

Instructor

Mitch started working on cars in 2012 when his transmission needed to be rebuilt while he was in high school. He bought books and watched videos to educate himself on how to complete the rebuild. Through this, he learned that he enjoyed the technical aspects of working on cars and realized that he could make money doing it. In 2014, he started working at a local Subaru dealer as a porter. After his service manager heard that he had rebuilt a transmission, he was promoted from a porter to a technician. By 2019, Mitch had become a Master Subaru and a Certified ASE Technician where he specialized in engine and transmission rebuilds. He is a graduate of Lakeland Community College’s Welding Program (2017). He enjoys motorcycle drag racing, welding and fabrication. As a young master tech, he is excited about being able to relate to students and guide them on a successful path at MTI.

Bernie Rossetti

Instructor

Bernie has over 40 years experience in the collision industry. 15 of those years were spent as a body and paint technician. From there, he achieved master technician status and various body and paint certification. After his career as a technician he was given the opportunity to move in to the management side of the collision. For 25 years, he was a collision and general manager in various dealerships. Bernie is also an avid baseball fan! Bernie is highly experienced in collision repair planning, shop production and profitability and very excited to share his passion for the collision industry and to be part of the Matrix team.