Wednesday, 25 July 2012 18:18

America’s Top Auto Students Crowned at SkillsUSA Competition Held in Kansas City

Hundreds of automotive students gathered in Kansas City, MO for a showdown for gold. Armed with their tool boxes and spray guns, they represented the top collision repair and automotive refinishing students from around the country.

SkillsUSA returned to Kansas City on June 23-27, 2012 for its 48th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference, a showcase of career and technical education students. Quality career and technical education was the centerpiece of the conference. More than 15,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from more than 1,100 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated in the event with 94 hands-on skill and leadership competitions. SkillsUSA organizes this event, and it is considered the single greatest day of industry volunteerism in America every year at an estimated cost of more than $35 million. Each SkillsUSA Championships contestant is a state-level gold medalist.

When the dust cleared, four students claimed the gold medals, taking home the country’s top honors in their competitions, along with scholarships, prize money and new tools.


Automotive Refinishing Technology
The automotive refinishing technology competition included surface preparation, spray gun operation, paint mixing, matching and applying, solving paint applications problems, determining finish defects, causes and cures, and utilizing safety precautions.

The winners were:
Spencer Cook (Gold) - High School, Mid-Coast School of Technology, Rockland, ME
Derek Meehl (Gold) - Postsecondary, Saint Cloud Technical College, Saint Cloud, MN
James Chesser (Silver) - High School, Lewis & Clark Career Center, Saint Charles, MO
Aaron Dressler (Silver) - Postsecondary, Penn College of TechWilliamsport, PA
Nathan Aguiar (Bronze) - High School, Diman RVTHS, Fall River, MA
Jessica Crowley (Bronze) - Postsecondary, College of Western Idaho, Nampa, ID

“I plan to initially work on street cars, but would really like to get into custom refinishing,” said Meehl. “I’d like to be like Chip Foose.”

Collision Repair Technology
In the collision repair competition, students were tasked with straightening, welding, repairing a plastic bumper and conducting a structural analysis. There also was a written test on estimating and structural analysis, plus an ASE exam.

The winners were:
Jason Lucius (Gold) - High School, Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Tech Ctr - Sentinel, Tiffin, OH
John Stanton (Gold) – Postsecondary, Kaskaskia College, Centralia, IL
Jackson T Winslett (Silver) - High School, Alvin High School, Alvin, TX
Michael Annis (Silver) – Postsecondary, Washburn Tech, Topeka, KS
James Johnson (Bronze) - High School, Center of Applied Tech North, Severn, MD
Owen Boyle (Bronze) - Postsecondary Penn College of Tech, Williamsport, PA

Begun in 1967, the SkillsUSA Championships has grown from 54 competitors in three contests to more than 5,600 competitors in 94 hands-on skill and leadership contests this year. SkillsUSA adds contests to the SkillsUSA Championships to meet the demands of new and expanding occupations. SkillsUSA affiliated instructional programs represent 130 different occupational areas.

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