• July 3, 2020

Engines, auto donated to ECISD auto tech program - Odessa American: Education

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Engines, auto donated to ECISD auto tech program

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  • Sewell Donation

    Collin Sewell, President of the Sewell family of companies, talks to students in the auto tech program during a presentation Thursday at the Frost building.

Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019 5:17 pm

Collin Sewell, president of The Sewell Family of Companies, said the combined contribution was worth north of $35,000. They are both V6 engines.

John Tostanoski, central market technology placement specialist for Ford, said this is a way to expose students to relevant technology that they’re going to see in the dealerships so they can be better prepared for their careers.

“The amount of technology inside an economy car is nearly five times the technology in the Apollo missions that took us to the moon. There’s more technology in your cell phone than the technology that was in the Apollo missions that took us to the moon,” Tostanoski said.

“Just consider what kind of technology is now inside of a vehicle. The modern-day automotive technician is not a mechanic. They’re not a grease monkey. They’re an automotive technician. They are a doctor of cars and they require an extremely high level of competency in training and so what’s great about what Sewell Ford Lincoln has done and the entire Sewell Family of companies and what Ford Motor Company has been able to do with Ector County ISD is really provide students with that level of technology that’s needed to make them career ready,” he added.

Connor Deknikker, Ford service zone manager, said the engines can fit in anything from a Ford Taurus to an F-150 pickup truck.

Superintendent Scott Muri said the responsibility of education is to educate tomorrow’s adults, tomorrow’s workers, tomorrow’s employees, tomorrow’s leaders and tomorrow’s members of our community.

“We do that not by ourselves, but we do that in partnership with other people. Specifically today it is an opportunity to partner with a company that not only is represented here locally with Collin Sewell and our local Ford dealership, but also nationally with Ford Motor Company,” Muri said.

Muri said students come through the Frost Building every day and take part in opportunities to have hands-on experiences and fully understand what the world of work is about and the opportunities that exist.

“Many times we have a difficult time showing them that in a contrived environment, but because of the opportunities we have today, we can really add a level of reality to the experiences that our kids are having,” he said.

In his remarks to those attending the event, Tostanoski asked for a moment of silence for the victims of the Aug. 31 mass shooting.

“This is a positive move forward to be able to provide this level of technology to students who are going to be part of our future workforce, who are going to have future prosperous careers. I think it’s excellent and it’s an excellent demonstration of business leadership coming together with the local school districts and their community to create a better life for everyone,” Tostanoski said.  

Career and Technology Education Coordinator Janet Flippin said the department was “super moved by the generous donation” of a vehicle and two engines.

“Everybody knows how limited sometimes resources and funding can be and so to have an opportunity like this to be given to our students opens some doors for them, gives them real-life experiences, gives them opportunities to have hands-on experiences …,” Flippin said.

Flippin said it’s also a chance for the community to grow its own automotive technicians and keep them in Odessa.

Sewell said while the engines and the vehicle are “really tremendous gifts,” he wanted to talk to the students about the importance of staying in school.

“Cars and trucks break regardless of what the price of oil and gas is, which means that if you’re really interested in being a great technician, if you’re really interested in an amazing career that you have an opportunity to be in an economy and in an industry and have a career that has so much more consistency than maybe other industries that we have in this area,” Sewell said.

He applauded the fact that the students were still in school when he knows there are a “whole lot of people” that they probably know who are not.

“I also want to encourage you to stay because what happens is education opens doors of opportunity that otherwise you might not be able to walk through, so you look in this room today, there’s maybe eight or nine doors. What happens is education multiplies the number of doors you have a chance to walk through, so whether you want to be an engineer, whether you want to be an automotive technician, whether you want to be an educator when you and I finish school you have an opportunity to walk through doors because your education multiplies those chances,” Sewell said.

He said his hope is that the engines and car give the students tools to learn an “amazing trade,” but also that it’s a step in furthering their education.

If they choose to be automotive technicians, Sewell said, “You have a great opportunity about three streets over and about a half a mile down the road because Odessa College has developed and has built an amazing state-of-the-art facility just to train automotive technicians.”

The automotive tech program has at least 200 students and Sewell said the industry has a huge shortage.

“… We have people who may have a desire and a hope to become a technician and just may not have the opportunity to do so. While many people may know we recently partnered with Odessa College to form Sewell Auto Tech, it will have its official grand opening in February, but next fall we are going to be offering scholarships to students within our community that are interested in being an automotive technician. They’ll be able to apply at our website at joinsewell.com …,” he said.

Sewell added that many students may feel like they have to go to other cities to learn this skill or trade, but Sewell Auto Tech will enable them to stay at home near friends and family.

“And for the community, I think the real benefit is that we can draw other students in from cities all over the country to be part of this state-of-the-art program,” Sewell added.

Automotive instructor Manuel Luna said the contribution means a lot to the students, staff and school district. Referring back to Flippin’s comments, Luna said funds aren’t always available for what’s needed so they rely on the generosity of the community.

Syrah Garcia, a 16-year-old junior at Permian High School, is in her first year in the automotive program.

“I think it’s amazing because sometimes when it’s overused and overused you really can’t get the new feeling of something and it’s fun to have something new instead of having the teachers’ cars. It’s better to have something new to look at instead of looking at the same car every day,” Garcia said.

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