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Penske-branded Diesel Lab Debuts at Southwest University

Penske-branded Diesel Lab Debuts at Southwest University

On May 16, Southwest University in El Paso, Texas, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to showcase their newly branded Penske diesel lab.

The lab features Penske-themed creative elements, including a large wall and two oversized bay doors highlighting Penske’s presence and ongoing partnership with the university.

Nestor Vidaurri, general manager of operations for Penske’s El Paso district, said that the relationship between the school and Penske dates back over seven years. “In April of 2017, Penske took over the maintenance program for a local company. At that time, everyone who worked for the maintenance department of that company transitioned over to Penske,” Vidaurri said. “I helped manage that transition and then became part of the board of advisors for Southwest University.”

Since then, Southwest University’s involvement with Penske has grown. The university began bringing students to the El Paso district location for tours, sparking interest in incorporating Penske processes into its curriculum. This integration has facilitated Penske’s recruitment efforts “With their board of advisors, it was a great opportunity for us industry developments and new technologies,” said Vidaurri. “Southwest was able to stay updated with our trends, making it easier for us to employ their graduates.”

The partnership has been mutually beneficial. Vidaurri noted that the university constantly seeks feedback to improve its curriculum. When Penske hires Southwest graduates, they’re already connected to the company. “Once they graduate, they are already 60 to 70 percent trained,” said Vidaurri. “There’s not a lot of turnover, and Penske has been successful hiring students from Southwest.”

The collaboration has also enabled Vidaurri’s district to supply talent to other Penske locations nationwide. Southwest graduates have moved to cities including San Antonio, Austin, Salt Lake City and Indianapolis. “El Paso is a military base city, and many people fulfill their military obligations and then attend Southwest University,” Vidaurri said. “We employ these technicians, and they often move back home but remain with Penske.”

Vidaurri added that Southwest faculty and staff are particularly interested in Penske’s voice-guided preventive maintenance process and technology. “It makes it much easier when we’re hiring technicians from the school because they are already familiar with our PM process,” said Vidaurri.

Looking ahead, there are many collaborative projects planned between Penske and Southwest University. “We’re looking into a technology lab that they want to work with us on. We’re exploring the creation of a technology lab,” Vidaurri said. “We want to help them when it comes to diagnostics and electronics. They would also like to invest in more technology towards the diagnostics side. Almost everything now requires plugging in and troubleshooting with computer codes. That’s a significant area of opportunity.”

By: "Move Ahead" staff