Business Tools

SEMA Highlights Career Paths at Cypress College Workshop

SEMA Education partnered with the automotive technology department at Cypress College (Cypress, California) for a Career Workshop.

By Amanda Gubbins

On September 24, SEMA Education partnered with the automotive technology department at Cypress College (Cypress, California) for a Career Workshop, where nearly 200 students had a chance to interact with industry heavy-hitters in a variety of companies and fields, from engineering to manufacturing to sales and marketing.

The day opened with a presentation by Myles Kovacs, president and co-founder of DUB magazine, who shared some of the lessons about perseverance and hard work he learned throughout his career. 

“To me, the biggest thing and the reason why I [attended the workshop] was if I can make a difference in one person’s life to motivate them, put them on the right path, or mentor them, that’s what I feel like God put me here to do,” he reflected later.

Throughout the rest of the day, representatives from 11 other SEMA-member companies gave 30-minute presentations to small groups of students. The company representatives offered insights about their own careers, skills and qualities important in their positions, and broader tips for successfully navigating the transition from student to professional.

Ernie Silvers, president and CEO of Egge Machine Co., shared his experience in manufacturing, but also hoped the students would walk away with a bigger understanding. He focused much of his presentation on personal responsibility and the importance of learning, a message he summed up in the phrase, “Take control of your destiny.”

“The second half of my talk was more on taking initiative to control your own future. That’s where all of them plugged in because it’s all true for all of the students, regardless of what niche in their chosen field they’re going to go into,” Silvers said. “I like talking about taking personal responsibility, building the brand called ‘you’ and being responsible for your own learning, your own development,” he said.

Russ Bacarella, instructor of engine repair and engine machining at Cypress College, watched his students’ excitement grow throughout the day as they moved from workshop to workshop. He was thrilled at the level of engagement he observed.

“When they had the opportunity to ask questions, kids who would normally be passive or would not be really involved in some sort of lesson started asking questions. They saw something or they heard something that clicked in their mind that they wanted to be part of. It was really cool,” he reflected.

Ultimately, the school’s vision of broadening horizons was what prompted SEMA to become involved.

“We hoped students would be inspired to pursue whatever aspect of the automotive industry is most interesting to them,” said SEMA Education Director Zane Clark. “The fact that SEMA members came together to highlight the many career paths available to students was motivating and demonstrated the industry’s commitment to fostering the next generation of professionals and innovators." Clark continued, “Because of this commitment, SEMA will continue to identify opportunities that advocate automotive career paths for students.”

SEMA Education would like to thank each of the presenters who helped make the event a success: