Albuquerque’s ATS unveils new look
Overland Park, Kan. — When the new year rolled around, Automotive Test Solutions (ATS) in Albuquerque, N.M. decided after 15 years that it was time to unveil a new look for its company’s trade show appearance.
The change from yellow to a bright blue was apparently a success – especially at the Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo in Overland Park, Kan., last month, where ATS won the award for best booth under 300 square feet.
“We feel the new look better represents the quality and professionalism of our products,” said Lynnie Thompson, who is co-owner of ATS with her husband Bernie and co-partners, Neal and Kristin Pederson.
There was some trepidation about the new look – especially since the company’s prior color had always been yellow and had also been well-received prior to the change, Thompson said. ATS has won the best booth award at the expo four times, counting this year, she said.
“Before, everyone knew to look for the yellow booth,” Lynnie Thompson said. “This year, we didn’t know what to expect.”
The new bright blue color highlighted ATS’ new booth design, which went over well at the expo. “It’s really opened up our booth,” she said. “It’s more inviting and the traffic has increased.”
ATS didn’t get its start more than a dozen years ago in an automotive shop, but instead on the ski slopes of Los Alamos, N.M., where longtime friends Neal Thompson and Neal Pederson discussed automotive diagnostic and training equipment when they weren’t snowboarding.
After several years of trying to get ATS off the ground, Thompson and Pederson began to see results. Now with more than 20 patents on cutting-edge tools that make possible what was once thought of as impossible, including checking the camshaft timing through the spark plug hole with a pressure transducer, test driving the vehicle with one of the shop’s scan tools and running a volumetric efficiency test and comparing it to a Total Fuel Trim (TFT) test, allowing a technician to be able to diagnose difficult driveability problems within minutes.
Thompson and Pederson now say their early years of hard work have paid off. “We have designed diagnostic equipment that really works,” Thompson said. “We have customers who are excited about working on cars again.”
ATS offers an entire diagnostic suite. Each innovative product works in sync with each other to provide a powerful diagnostic platform and is backed by live product support, Thompson said. ATS can log into a shop’s computer and help employees one-on-one in their own shop to learn how to successfully use the ATS diagnostic equipment from the people who designed and built it, Thompson said.
ATS’ product line is designed and built in the U.S., and whenever possible, ATS uses manufacturers and suppliers who are also in the United States. ATS’ products are assembled and tested in Albuquerque.
ATS’ diagnostic equipment platform consists of: EScan Pro driveability, EScope Pro Channel Dual Time Base Oscilloscope, IEA Intelligent Engine Analyzer, Bullseye Leak Detector, iGas Intelligent Gas analyzer, and the IC inspection camera.
Thompson, a successful shop owner and technician, has been using the oscilloscopes since the early 1980s. He said he has always been adamant about diagnosing vehicles correctly and became frustrated when hiring technicians for his shop. “I had ASE master technicians who didn’t have basic troubleshooting skills,” he said. In 1996, Thompson started designing what would become ATS’ first tool, the ETrainer, to train his employees, and soon began teaching classes on basic electronics.
Pederson, an electrical engineer and a computer programmer, has a successful business developing control systems for projects such as nuclear reactors and linear particle accelerators. Pederson received his master’s degree in electrical engineering in 1992 from Northwestern Polytechnic University with top honors. “Although my degree was in electrical engineering, I began writing control and data acquisition software in the early 1990s,” he said. “Combining my electronics knowledge with programming accelerated my approach to developing complete computer-based control and monitoring systems.”