Arkansas State University - Newport

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May 2019

#MyASUNstory: Robert Hester

It’s never too late to learn something new. Robert Hester is gaining new skills at ASU-Newport in the Collision Repair and Refinishing Technology program.

“I’ve been working in valet and front desk, kind of getting burnt out doing that,” Hester said. “I guess I’ve done that for about 8 years now and was looking to do something else.”

Hester’s uncle recently opened a body shop and offered him an opportunity he couldn’t turn down.

“He said if I’d come to school to learn painting and body work that he would give me a job,” Hester said. “When he said this is how much I’ll pay you and the commission, I jumped on board once he told me the numbers. You can make a really good living.”

Hester said he immediately started googling schools and came across a couple of options, but ASU-Newport stood out.

“Dave, the instructor here, was the one that got back to me,” Hester said. “He got back to me real quick, easy to communicate with. It was really easy to get enrolled here.”

While learning the art of fresh paint and body work, Hester still works at a hotel in Memphis.

“It’s been a grind,” Hester said. “It’s 7 days a week for me. I don’t have any downtime really.”

With two sons at home, Hester knows all about early mornings, late nights and hard work.

“It’s definitely been worth it,” Hester said. “You start out and you think it will take forever, but it goes really fast.”

Hester knows it can be hard to take a leap and do something different, but he said the time is now.

“Never too late for anybody to go back to school or do what they want to do or to do something new or come learn,” Hester said.