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A Move Up from the Grandstands: President of Team Penske Tim Cindric

"Don’t set your sights too high for your first job. Sometimes the best job is the one where you get the most experience."

 

“I’ve never had a real job,” says Tim Cindric. He may be understating his importance just a bit, as Tim is the current president of Team Penske.

Tim’s father was an IndyCar engine builder and even as a kid, Tim would wash parts and help around the shop. He grew up in the grandstands of Indianapolis with a dream of someday working for the Penske organization. From being just a kid in the grandstands to sitting behind the desk as president of Team Penske, he’s had quite the journey.

With a passion for cars, he attended the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana for mechanical engineering. Tim then worked for Truesports in Columbus, Ohio. Legendary racecar driver and architect of his namesake empire, Roger Penske “wasn’t the kind of guy you send your resume to,” Tim says. “I always believed if I was worthy, he’d find me.” Tim got that phone call in 1999.

In the mid-2000s, Penske combined several entities into Penske Performance and completed the renovation of a 420,000-plus-square-foot facility in Mooresville, North Carolina. Penske employs roughly 500 full-time employees, 52 of whom are UTI graduates.

Tim loves the dynamics of the industry and how the deadlines never change. “The green flag falls on Sunday,” he says. He appreciates that results are immediate, and on Monday, the team can go into improving processes right away.

Though it may seem like it, working for Penske isn’t a pipe-dream. There’s always a demand for good people, Tim says of Penske’s hiring practices. The company is always looking for motivated applicants who are dedicated to improving themselves. Though grades and attendance are important, when Penske is looking for new employees, they’re mostly looking for the right attitude. Candidates need a basic skill set, and they can grow their skills as time goes on. Attitude however, can’t be taught.

“People need to realize that today’s job is the most important job. If you do today’s job right you’ll have the opportunity to do the next job,” Tim says. He continues: “Don’t set your sights too high for your first job. Sometimes the best job is the one where you get the most experience.” His point is that you may have to compromise what you have to do in the short term to get what you want in the longer run.

As a leader in the industry, Penske has to constantly keep up with the technology of cars. Things are continuing to evolve. Racing isn’t the same as it was 50 years ago. Everyone has the same foundation now, and they’re all working on the same ideas and on the same goals. What it comes down to is who can get it out to the race track the fastest.

 

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