Bob Sweet, founder of the Universal Technical Institute, died July 9 at the age of 87. A 1948 graduate of SUNY Oswego, Sweet received his degree in vocational education. In 1965, he founded UTI in Phoenix with 11 students, two classrooms and the goal of providing relevant auto repair training.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Bob Sweet,” said Kim McWaters, CEO of UTI. “He was an industry visionary and pioneer, and his commitment to providing quality training has been the driving force behind our company’s innovation for 47 years.”
Throughout his years at UTI, Sweet focused on providing high-quality training delivered in a professional manner to students who were eager to put their skills to good use. Often quoted as saying, “Buildings don’t teach; people do,” his business philosophy was to adhere to standards of excellence and to instill a sense of pride and ownership in his employees.
Today, UTI is a provider of post-secondary education for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. The company has 11 campuses across the country, with an average undergraduate enrollment of more than 16,000 students.
In 1991, Sweet retired from UTI but continued to remain close to the organization. In his later years, Sweet was involved with the UTI Foundation, which provides scholarships and assistance to UTI students.