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John Norlington Hires The Technicians of Tomorrow

"I prefer students who have taken an MSAT program. They’re more familiar with the vehicles and they hit the ground running. It’s a quicker transition from student to a full-fledged tech."


Sewell Automotive, based in Dallas, Texas was founded in 1911. Since those earliest days it has held onto the value of excellence in all areas of their business. They expect a lot from those who work at their dealerships and when it's time to hire they have high standards of who they'll bring aboard as new employees.

John Norlington is in charge of recruiting and hiring at Sewell. He's the guy whose responsibility it is in finding those employees who share the same values of excellence. He looks for people who were at the top of their class and want to continue pushing upwards in their careers.

"When I'm looking for prospective technicians to hire, I'm looking for people who want to be the best and to be a part of a team that is the best."

John looks to UTI graduates as a pool of potential employees. He finds those who completed any of the MSAT programs as being worthy candidates for joining their team at Sewell. But, they must meet Sewell’s high standards. Not only does he assess people on their technical skills but he also looks at their attendance and grades in determining if they would be a good fit.

“I prefer students who have taken an MSAT program. They’re more familiar with the vehicles and they hit the ground running. It’s a quicker transition from student to a full-fledged tech.”

And an auto dealer like Sewell is a fantastic place to land after graduation. With 17 dealerships they have a big presence in Texas. Some of the manufacturers they represent include GM, Cadillac, Lexus, BMW and Mercedes. Their newest BMW dealership, opened in the summer of in 2017, is one of the biggest in the country, with an expanse of 280,000 square feet. It boasts two interior levels, where 30 cars can be displayed, making the sales process one that can be sheltered from the elements when the weather is bad. At such an ambitious and large dealership there’s a huge demand for high caliber employees.  Sewell’s 5 GM dealerships employ half of the world class technicians in all of Texas. With so many dealerships and brands there is a lot of opportunities for skilled and qualified employees with their company.

“This is an industry that’s very heavy in demand. If you’re willing to put forth the effort, the energy and this is something you like to do, I think that it’s a great career to get into with many job prospects and the potential to make a very good living.”

At Sewell ongoing education is another one of those values that are at the core of their company.

“Ongoing training is extremely important. Mr. Sewell makes it mandatory that employees get extra training no matter what their positions are.”

And for those who perform the job of technician they get further support. They get the training they need to earn their mater certifications as soon as possible.

John has interviewed and hired many different people. But he’s found that not only does an employee need to be a good fit for a company, but they need to work somewhere consistent with what they value.

“When you’re about to graduate you really need to be focused on the type of company you want to work for, you want to make sure that it’s a company whose ethics matches yours, is professional and a company that truly cares about its people.”

Whatever the career path you choose, hard work is going to get you to where you need to go. And once you land that first job, you need to continue pushing forward, you need to find an employer who has an interest in you and is there to help you grow in your career.

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