Jordan Englehardt Receives the Inaugural SEMA-NACAT Education Foundation Award
Jordan Englehardt (second from left) receives the inaugural SEMA-NACAT Education Foundation Award, presented by Zane Clark (left), SEMA senior director of education, and Laura Lyons (right), president of A-Tech and chairman of the board for the NACAT Education Foundation. Also shown is Steve Gibson (second from right) of K&N Engineering, who is an NACAT and SEMA Scholarship board member.
SEMA created the SEMA-North American Council of Automotive Teachers (NACAT) Education Foundation Award to recognize and celebrate the automotive instructors of America. Their profession plays a crucial role in fostering the future of automotive professionals.
“Too often, these boots-on-the-ground champions go unrecognized,” said Doug Evans, chairman of the SEMA Board of Directors. “But every day, in every class, they are shaping the next generation of automotive enthusiasts and employees.”
The new award, presented by SEMA in conjunction with NACAT, is intended to recognize the automotive technology instructors who develop exemplary aftermarket curricula, inspire their students and elevate the quality of future industry professionals.
At an awards ceremony Tuesday afternoon of the SEMA Show, Jordan Englehardt of Lyons Township High School in La Grange, Illinois, was announced as the winner of the very first SEMA-NACAT Education Foundation Award. In his classes at Lyons Township High School, Engelhardt’s students this year are building a 1929 Model A from the bottom up. They’re also using papercraft—a form of origami for cars—to create a go-kart replica of a Lamborghini.
“I want to say that I absolutely love what I do for a living,” Englehardt said. “I’d like to personally thank you all for putting something like this together. The more I can connect with people doing cool things, the greater impact I can have on my kids’ future.”
SEMA Senior Director of Education Zane Clark, A-Tech President and NACAT Chairman of the Board Laura Lyons, and Steve Gibson of K&N Engineering and board member of NACAT and SEMA Scholarship Committee presented the SEMA-NACAT Education Foundation Award to Englehardt.
“We are very excited about the caliber of talented automotive instructors who were nominated for this award,” Clark said. “Partnering with NACAT to recognize these hardworking professionals was a natural fit and something the association takes pride in. I see a bright future for this award.”
The other two finalists were Paul L. Nelson of Northwest Technical College in Bemidji, Minnesota, and Brian McDonnell of GST BOCES Coopers Education Center in Painted Post, New York. All three received free registration to the 2016 SEMA Show as well as airfare to Las Vegas and hotel accommodations. Engelhardt will also receive free registration to the NACAT Conference next July in Warren, Michigan.
The awards presentation took place during the Education Partners Luncheon, which brings together educators and administrators for an open discussion about student employment paths. Gavin Knapp, SEMA director of market research, gave a presentation on the findings of SEMA’s Employment Needs Study, which indicates that 95% of companies in the automotive aftermarket industry will need to hire new employees with specific skills in the next five years. The number-one problem, according to the study, is that companies don’t know where to look for the highly skilled employees they will need in the future.
Interactive Career Center at the SEMA Show
SEMA launched a new career paths initiative in 2016 with the SEMA Career Center—an online platform to connect job seekers to automotive aftermarket businesses. To raise awareness for the new tool, SEMA featured an on-site Career Center powered by SEMA Jobs at the SEMA Show.
Located across from the Members Lounge, the center served as a hot spot for students looking to make the transition into the professional world and professionals looking to advance their careers. Show attendees were able to create free profiles on a job-board site in the center and preview available industry jobs. An expert consultant was on site all week reviewing LinkedIn profiles and offering tips to improve the attendees’ virtual presence. To top it all off, a photographer was on hand to take professional headshots.
To enrich the student experience at the Show and provide real-world experience, students over the age of 16 also had the opportunity to participate in the Exhibitor Host Program. Program participants worked alongside select exhibitors at the Show, not only creating connections with industry professionals and potential mentors but also exposing them to the multiple moving parts of working a tradeshow booth.