Chief has announced its 32nd year of sponsorship of the Collision Repair Technology (CRT) Championship at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. The conference helps to create opportunities for future collision repair professionals to compete for a national title and sharpen their skills.
“There is a huge need for qualified technicians in this industry, especially with the average age of technicians being between 50 to 55,” says Richard Perry, OEM and strategic account sales manager for Chief. “It won’t be long before that generation of technicians will start retiring or rotating out, which will leave a void. This competition is mutually beneficial for employers and future technicians. It definitely gives the students more opportunity to showcase their skills in hopes of potentially landing jobs available across the country.”
This year’s event takes place June 25-29 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Ky. More than 16,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners, are expected to participate.
Thousands of the best career and technical education high school and college students in the nation will put their collision repair know-how to work by participating in skills competitions, covering all aspects of collision repair.
During the multi-day competition, contestants take written tests and go through an application for work process where they present a resume and have an interview with a volunteer judge. In the structural analysis segment of the competition, students use three types of measuring devices – centerline gauges, mechanical and computerized systems – to identify damage in the test vehicles. For the computerized measuring portion, a damaged unibody car will be held on a Chief impulse-E/VHT frame rack and measured with Chief’s Meridian Align Live Mapping system. Contestants will be judged on the overall appearance of the finished product, speed and proper safety practices.
The CRT committee develops the structural repair written test, locates project vehicles, sets up equipment and vehicles, presents and monitors the written test and schedules judges for the hands-on portion of the contest. This year’s committee includes Perry, Mike Croker, Chief global repair and training product manager; Bob Keith of Assured Performance; Quinn Machan of Nationwide Insurance; Tom Cieslet of Nationwide Insurance; John Resler (retired from Nationwide Insurance); and chairman Ken Soupene of Collision Train, who was a senior Chief University instructor for many years. Croker (2001, 2002) and Perry (1985) both competed in the SkillsUSA Competition as a youth when it was called VICA.
The winning college and high school CRT Champion students each will receive a free registration for any upcoming Chief University course, a value of more than $1,000. Chief University courses provide hands-on training across North America.