How UTI Grad Kendrick Cowart Pursued a Career with Volvo

Sep 21, 2020 ·
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For UTI grad Kendrick Cowart, becoming a technician wasn’t always something at the forefront of his mind. However, a series of events led him to UTI-Lisle—where he got his start and trained for a career in the automotive industry.

After graduating, Kendrick made the move to Denver, Colorado, where he now works as a technician with Rickenbaugh Volvo Cars. According to his family, friends, instructors and colleagues, Kendrick’s hard work and eagerness to tackle new challenges has shaped him into the automotive professional he is today. 

Keep reading to learn more about Kendrick’s inspiring story and how he turned his passion into a rewarding career.

Get to Know Kendrick

Kendrick realized his love for cars at a young age. His memories of his childhood consist of going on car rides and watching his dad fix and detail cars.

Eventually, Kendrick began working on cars himself and realized it was something he really enjoyed. As he approached his senior year of high school, he knew a four-year university wasn’t a fit for him. After watching videos on UTI’s YouTube channel, Kendrick became curious about the career path of an automotive technician.

With a passion for cars, Kendrick decided to focus his education on the automotive industry. He attended UTI and graduated from the Automotive Technology Training Program with Ford Accelerated Credential training, all while working part-time on the weekends.

Hands-on Training at UTI

Kendrick always knew he was a hands-on learner, which is something that made him gravitate toward UTI-Lisle. While he was enrolled in school, Kendrick particularly enjoyed the labs, especially UTI’s high-performance class, where he had the opportunity to rebuild and modify engines.

During his time at UTI-Lisle, Kendrick gained an understanding of just how important hands-on training is to the automotive industry. He was grateful to apply what he was learning in the classroom to his part-time job as a general service technician. He credits UTI’s hands-on learning for boosting his ability to learn in the classroom, on the job and in life, and for shaping him into the young professional he is today. 

Preparing for a Career with Volvo

A few months after graduating from UTI-Lisle, Kendrick left Illinois for Arizona, where he completed the Volvo Service Automotive Factory Education (SAFE) training program to further his knowledge. 

Due to the pandemic, online classes began in May, and transitioned to modified in-person labs for the remaining two months. This is where Kendrick was trained to understand the unique service needs of Volvos.

So why did Kendrick choose Volvo specifically? Kendrick grew up around Volvos and loved his dad’s black S60. As he dove into the Volvo SAFE training program, he especially enjoyed the hands-on approach, and was thrilled to work on taking transmissions in and out of cars.

While in the Volvo SAFE training program, Kendrick experienced one of his proudest moments. With a little bit of free time and approval from one of his instructors, he and several of his classmates did an oil change and a few software updates on his personal Volvo he donated to the program.

What should have been a text book procedure turned into a much deeper-rooted software issue. However, with a few trial and error runs, Kendrick led the team to solve the issue. This was a memorable moment for Kendrick, especially because it was his own Volvo car that he had grown up driving and working on before coming to UTI.

One of the biggest lessons Kendrick learned from this experience was how to solve obstacles when they come your way. According to him, this project gave him a lot of self-confidence as he started his career.

The Importance of Doing What You Love

After completing the Volvo SAFE training program in May, Kendrick secured a job with Rickenbaugh Volvo Cars in Denver, where he currently works as a general technician. Moving from the suburbs of Chicago to an unfamiliar city was a big move for Kendrick, but he has adjusted well.

Having worked in the field for some time now, Kendrick is thankful to say he chose the right career path. Although working in the automotive industry can have its challenges, he explained how fun his job has been. “The cool people I get to meet through cars is really satisfying to me,” he shares.

Kendrick doesn’t think he would have had the same opportunities with a different career path, which makes his job that much more rewarding and meaningful. After all, it makes sense to work in a job that makes you happy.

For Kendrick, the age-old saying, “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” rings true.

Transferable Skills

Kendrick’s years of experience and endless transferable skills have become the foundation of his personal and professional success. Looking to the future, his skills and experience will continue to provide a foundation as he progresses through his career.

In addition to learning the ins and outs of working on cars, Kendrick is thankful for the broad technical knowledge he gained at UTI.

“By understanding how something works, like a car, it’s easier to figure out how other machines and electronics work,” Kendrick shares. He feels he can apply the skills and knowledge he learned at UTI to many different fields, which he believes will set him apart from others.

What's Next for Kendrick?

For Kendrick, the learning never stops. Currently, he has his eyes set on welding and said he plans to get certified so he can build his own chassis for racing.

He shared that he’ll also continue to challenge himself, as he’s learned that the more you challenge yourself and succeed, the greater confidence you have when you do it again.

Train for a Career in the Automotive Industry

From simple engine systems to power and performance machines, UTI’s Automotive Technology program is designed to provide you with the knowledge and skills to succeed in the industry. To learn more about this 51-week program, visit our website and request information today.

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