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Kevin Naylor, of Toyota of Surprise, has seen many changes since he was a student at UTI. But he sees this as a positive.

"The automotive technology of today is rapidly advancing, as it has the last five years, so it’s important for the students of today to continue their education. And UTI keeps up with the newest technologies."

 

Since he graduated UTI in 1987, Kevin Naylor has had a long career in the auto industry. With 13 years of being a part of the Penske Automotive Group and 29 years total in the auto industry he now finds himself with the title of Fixed Operations Director of Toyota in Surprise, AZ as well as the Avondale Hiring Manager.

Toyota of Surprise has been open for three and a half years and was one of the first dealerships to open in the Surprise Auto Park. With 13 technicians, they’ve been growing at a rate of three to four technicians a year. The need for skilled employees has grown more and more as their dealership has blossomed.

Kevin reports that a majority of these skilled workers come to them directly from Universal Technical Institute campuses. These new employees use their training and education and are ready to jump into entry-level positions.

“The students who come from UTI are ready to work. Especially the ones from the Toyota Professional Automotive Technician (TPAT) who are already base certified with Toyota.”

Having already been through the program, these new technicians start on the ground floor and gain the momentum to move on up.

“We bring them in as apprentice technicians, pair them up with our master technicians and usually in three to six months they become full-fledged line technicians in our store.”

Dealerships like Toyota of Surprise need their technicians to be up to date on the latest advances in the industry. UTI helps them be prepared by staying up on the newest automotive technologies and communicating these to their students.

“When a student graduates UTI and comes to work for us they already have the base knowledge in the newest technologies, which is a huge benefit when they walk into our doors. This training could take six to 12 months in house.”

But with any technology-based field, learning never stops because things are constantly changing. And Toyota of Surprise is there to help further their technicians’ experience.

“After graduating from UTI, a student will take six to twelve months of our training them to get to the point where they’re an expert or master technician.”

Kevin has seen a lot in his long career in the auto industry. And he views the new technologies as new opportunities for techs to learn and grow. He sees the industry as never slowing down, but always speeding up with every new advancement.

“The automotive technology of today is rapidly advancing, as it has the last five years, so it’s important for the students of today to continue their education. And UTI keeps up with the newest technologies. Even though the industry is going to change the students we’re going to hire in two to five years from now are going to be up on those technologies.” 

Kevin keeps his standards high for the technicians whom he hires. Whether from UTI or from somewhere else they need to have a high level of professionalism. Not only do they have to have the skills and knowledge, but attitude is just as important.

“Attitude is the biggest thing, when you come in you’re the smile of the shop. You’re always willing to help your next-door neighbor, you’re willing to lend your hand to anybody, you’re willing to go the extra mile to ask questions and you’re willing to learn -- that’s the biggest thing.”

As a UTI grad and one who still has a direct connection with these students, the best advice he has for them is to keep their attitudes positive, stay focused and to never lose sight of their passions. In his 29 years of automotive industry experience he sees success as being driven by the willingness to do a bit extra, try harder and to always be willing to help others.

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