After 37 years of service, John White is retiring this December as the Universal Technical Institute (UTI) executive chairman. White will continue to serve as a member of UTI’s board of directors. White retires as the most tenured employee in the company having played a critical role in the history and success of UTI, along with the advancement of technical education overall.
White began changing the world for thousands of future technicians when he acquired Motorcycle Mechanics Institute (MMI) in 1977; the school had just one building, a handful of students and two instructors.
In the early 1980s, White’s vision guided him to launching a first-of-its-kind training partnership with Harley-Davidson USA. This partnership set the stage for a successful strategy working closely with leading motorcycle manufacturers. Soon after Harley-Davidson, relationships with Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki and Honda were also formed, driving the creation and delivery of industry-driven education that best prepares technicians to enter the workforce.
Over the years, MMI became the premier brand and undisputed leader in technician training for the motorcycle and marine industries. White’s visionary leadership and ability to see the value in partnering with some of the world’s leading manufacturers, as a way to help both students and employers, was revolutionary then and has continued to be the core of UTI’s brand and strategic positioning nearly 40 years later.
In 1997, when MMI and UTI merged, White assumed the role of chief strategic planning officer, in addition to serving on UTI’s Board as vice-chair and co-chair, before becoming executive chairman in 2005. During this time, with UTI’s merger completed, White began thinking of ways to build upon the successful strategy he had launched at MMI and how UTI could do the same with automotive and diesel OEM’s.
Today, it is no coincidence that UTI partners with more than 30 leading manufacturers with their newest partner being General Motors Co.
Before White announced his retirement plans, he made sure that the new partnership he spearheaded with GM became a reality, as UTI has formalized an agreement with GM to develop a 12-week elective training program for UTI students. The program will first be available at UTI’s Avondale campus.
With more than 30 industry-leading brands now associated with UTI, MMI and NASCAR Tech, White’s legacy will continue to positively influence the company and benefit thousands of students and employers across the country for many more years to come.
White has been a generous supporter of the UTI Foundation and a number of other charities, such as the American Red Cross and Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix. He and his wife reside in Pinnacle Peak.