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A Look Back From One of UTI Orlando’s First Diesel Graduates

Jul 19, 2023 ·

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Sometimes all you need is a good friend and a leap of faith.

Travis Bernoski is an employment recruiter for a regional Rush Enterprises Truck Center in Orlando, Florida, a dealership with 140 locations nationwide. His main role is to handle hiring needs for more than 30 of their locations.

Now having a career he enjoys and a family he loves, Bernoski says it all started with a friend’s suggestion almost eight years ago.

“I left home at 18 and joined the Army. I had fun doing that for four years and then relocated to Orlando. A friend of mine said, ‘Let’s go to UTI.’ At the time I had no idea what that was and still said, ‘Sure,’” shares Travis.

Training at UTI Orlando

In 2015, Travis not only became one of the first to graduate from UTI Orlando’s diesel program, he also went on to get specialized training with UTI’s Ford FACT, a special elective 15-week program that offers hyper-focused training in all things Ford.

His hard work would soon be noticed as Rush Enterprises hired him and he started as a diesel technician.

“I’m happy to say I am still with the same company and doing very well for myself,” says Travis.

“I have been promoted four times in seven years, so I must be doing something right!”1

Transitioning From the Military

With industry-mirrored training at UTI, the transition into the workforce life can be smooth. Travis was able to land a job with Rush through a veterans career fair, so he was more than ready to be a diesel technician by the time he graduated.

“I was already working (as a technician) in the industry full time while attending school, so not much changed for me other than switching from second shift to first shift,” Travis tells us.

In his years with Rush Enterprises, Travis has worked hard and landed a few different roles. He kept his role as a diesel technician for about 2.5 years before becoming a service advisor for four years, eventually assuming the regional recruiter role he enjoys now.

What Makes a New Employee Stand Out?

Since Travis works directly with new employees, we asked for some insight as to what he looks for in an apprentice.

“Someone with a positive attitude who wants to learn and shows up to work is really all we can ask for,” Travis explains. “Attitude plays a huge role. Don't come to me cocky; come with confidence. There is a difference.”

Another big plus is if you’ve completed one of UTI’s Manufacturer-Specific Advanced Training (MSAT) programs in addition to core training. As an MSAT graduate himself, he knows how the extra training can help prepare new technicians.

“The MSAT students are very appealing as we know they’ll be more trained, and it saves a dealer a tremendous amount of money when it comes to our OEM (original equipment manufacturer) training,” says Travis.

A great thing about a career as a technician is that every day brings new tasks and offers many different pathways toward experience and skill. Once a technician and now a recruiter for a highly regarded company, Travis has always been career driven and hopes one day he'll become an upper manager such as general manager.

Even with his busy career schedule, Travis makes sure he sets aside time with his family in the great Floridian outdoors.

“I am surrounded by 72,000 acres of freshwater lakes all connected by canals. You can bet I'll be on the boat with a fishing pole in hand,” he says.

To anyone on the fence about technician training, Travis shares it’s a job made for people who want variety in their day to day.

“If you are someone who enjoys working with your hands, then becoming a technician is a great career path,” says Travis. “You come to work with a different job every day. Once your body gives out there is plenty of paths to take while staying with the same industry and company.”

Diesel training is offered at 12 of our campuses throughout the country so you can get started near you. Or, have an adventure and check out training in another state. Our Housing Services will be happy to assist! To learn more about diesel training with UTI, head here.

You could start toward an exciting new career as a technician today.
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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

6) UTI graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on personal credentials and economic factors. Work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer and their compensation programs affect wages. UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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