Martin Senour Paints announced that, for the second straight year, an Aims Community College student has won the annual SkillsUSA Championships in the Automotive Refinish and Collision Repair categories. Benjamin Falconer of Greeley, Colo., beat out thousands of competitors to receive the recent honor of the Automotive Refinishing Technology High School division’s national Gold Medal. The recent event took place in Louisville, Ky.
Martin Senour has been a sponsor of SkillsUSA for more than 20 years, providing manpower, associated products and other materials. This year, the company supplied the paint and panels that were used in the competition. Falconer and his fellow technical education students at Aims – including Grant Kennedy, who also finished in the top 10 – are very familiar with NAPA/Martin Senour Paints automotive paint as they have all been trained in automotive refinishing exclusively using its Vortex and Cross/FIRE products.
“We’re ecstatic for Falconer to achieve this milestone – going against 6,000 competitors in a hands-on event – and to continue our support of SkillsUSA,” said Rod Habel, Martin Senour Paints director of training. “This national nonprofit organization really helps students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations – all areas where great workers are needed.”
Leah L. Bornstein, president of Aims Community College, added, “Our automotive program is a wonderful example of excellence in the classroom fostering opportunity for our students. The skills and achievements of our students, who are using Martin Senour Paint products, validate what business leaders can anticipate when they hire a graduate from our automotive program.”
SkillsUSA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupations education. It sponsors the SkillsUSA Championships annually to recognize the achievements of career and technical education students and encourage them to strive for excellence and pride in their chosen occupations.
The contests are planned by technical committees comprised of representatives of labor and management, and are designed to test the skills needed for a successful entry-level performance in given occupational fields. Safety practices and procedures – an area of great concern to labor and management alike – are judged and graded and constitute a portion of a contestant’s score.
In the Automotive Refinishing contest, contestants demonstrated their ability to perform jobs and skills based on the task list outlined by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). The competition includes a series of workstations to assess skills in the following areas: surface preparation; spray gun operation; paint mixing, matching and applying; solving paint application problems; determining finish defects, causes and cures; and utilization of safety precautions. The competitor also completed an interview, a written estimate and an ASE written exam. The overall appearance of the finished product, speed and proper safety practices were judged.