Troy Peco describes himself as just another guy who teaches automotive technology and enjoys it.
But his peers at Georgia Northwestern Technical College say he teaches with passion and excellence.
Educators, lawmakers and company executive directors late Thursday named him the 2013 Rick Perkins Instructor of the Year for the Technical College System of Georgia.
"I just enjoy fixing things," said Peco, Georgia Northwestern's automotive technology director and instructor.
Peco doesn't just teach students, said Mindy McCannon, vice president of academic affairs at Georgia Northwestern.
He wants to transform their lives and the lives of their children by giving them the knowledge and experience to have a wonderful career, she said.
"The passion he has for the industry and for his students just shines through every day he comes to work," McCannon said.
Getting the instructor of the year honor means Peco will serve as the Technical College System of Georgia's ambassador for technical education instruction. He will meet Gov. Nathan Deal and speak to the Georgia General Assembly and throughout the state.
"I'm just trying to let people know how great and important technical education is and that we're making a difference in the global market," said Peco, a 42-year-old husband and father of two who has been teaching at Georgia Northwestern for six years.
Peco's peers at Northwestern first recommended him for the award.
Then he interviewed with judges to become one of nine finalists.
This week those judges, including educators, business people and lawmakers, considered Peco's teaching experience, use of innovative learning techniques, leadership, community involvement and devotion to technical education before naming him instructor of the year.
The recognition came with $1,000 and a day off Friday. But Peco didn't take the day off.
Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 423-757-6431.