SkillsUSA Conference Shines Spotlight on Next Generation of Collision Repairers - BodyShop Business

SkillsUSA Conference Shines Spotlight on Next Generation of Collision Repairers

Ever been to an NBA game and witnessed the “pump up the volume”
madness that ensues just prior to introducing the home team? Well, the
thousands of students, parents and teachers who participated in the
SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City last
week essentially equaled that during the opening ceremony of the United
States’ largest competition and trade show for young people interested
in pursuing careers in skilled trades.

Imagine thousands of teenagers screaming and whirling glow sticks in
the air to the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling.” And
imagine that enthusiam put toward a career in the culinary arts,
construction, hairstyling, automotive service or collision repair.
Gives you hope for the future, doesn’t it?

The opening ceremony (featuring keynote speaker Mike Holmes of the
popular HGTV show, “Holmes on Homes”) was just the tip of the iceberg
in an entire week that featured a career fair, TECHSPO (the nation’s
largest trade show in trade and industrial education), SkillsUSA
University educational sessions, and competitive events where students
vied for medals in a variety of skilled trades. Also at stake were
trips for the highest scoring students to the 2011 WorldSkills
Competition Oct. 5-8 in London, England.

State Farm has been one of SkillsUSA’s top sponsors for the past 20 years. Robert Medved, senior claims instructor of Corporate Learning and Development for State Farm, said there’s many reasons why the insurance company has been so heavily involved for so long.  

"We have a vested interest in helping skilled trade students achieve the highest level of technical training available to them. Multiple skilled trades support our core business of auto and homeowners insurance," said Medved. "By helping provide highly qualified technicians to the companies responsible for repairing our customers’ cars and homes after a loss, we can expect quality repair outcomes.

"Although we’re extremely proud of our monetary contributions, we’re equally as proud of the many State Farm employees that help set up, judge and work the competitions at both the state and national levels. However, our involvement is not enough. It’s crucial for the collision repair community to become more deeply involved in the lives of its future workforce. SkillsUSA students not only excel in their technical skills, but in employability skills as well. I’ll quote one person I talked to this year who said, ‘The worst student here is better than my best person at home.’ That about says it all, doesn’t it?"

2010 SkillsUSA Conference By the Numbers

No. of competitors: 5,600
No. of trade, technical and leadership fields: 96
No. of attendees: 15,000
No. of SkillsUSA members (including alumni): 313,180

Student competitors in Collision Repair Technology go through a series
of workstations to assess skills in metalwork, welding, plastic repair
and structural analysis and are judged by the overall appearance of the
finished product, speed and property safety practices. Also, there are
written tests on estimating and structural analysis as well as an ASE
exam. The students also go through mock job interviews to better
prepare for the hiring process. Medalists included:

Collision Repair Technology


Chance Brickner
High School     
Sentinel Career Center
Tiffin, Ohio


Jose Cornejo
High School     
Alvin High School
Alvin, Texas


Nicholas Jeronymo
High School
Greater New Bedford RVTHS
New Bedford, Mass.


Kevin Massey
Morgan Community College
Fort Morgan, Colo.


Marcus Malnar
Washtenaw Community College
Ann Arbor, Mich.


Lars E Jenson
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah

Student competitors in Automotive Refinishing Technology go through a
series of workstations designed to assess skills in surface
preparation, spray gun operation, paint mixing, matching and applying,
solving paint application problem, determining finish defects, causes
and cures, and utilizing safety precautions. Competitors also complete
interviews, written estimates and ASE written exams. Medalists included:

Automotive Refinishing Technology


Wyatt Knick
High School     
Upper Valley JVS
Piqua, OH


Nate Wagner
High School
Harkness Center-Erie 1 BOCES
Cheektowaga, New York


Justin Furman
High School
Tuscola Tech Center
Caro, Mich.


Robert Feldkamp
Washtenaw Community College
Ann Arbor, Mich.


Jason C Nielson
Utah Valley University
Orem, Utah


David Albers
Wichita Area Technical College
Wichita, Kansas

More information: 


Top Scoring SkillsUSA Females Score WIN Scholarships to NACE

SkillsUSA Student Travels to Calgary, Canada to Compete in International Car Painting Competition

ASE/AYES/SkillsUSA Announce Testing Partnership

front row l to r: medalists nate wagner (silver), wyatt knick (gold), justin furman (bronze) and technical committee member bill grady. back row l to r: jason c. nielson (silver), robert feldkamp (gold) and david albers (bronze).

Front row L to R: Technical Committee member Dennis Barrett, medalists Jose Cornejo (silver), Chance Brickner (gold), Nicholas Jeronymo (bronze) and Technical Committee member Darrell Andrews. Back row L to R: Marcus Malnar (silver), Kevin Massey (gold) and Lars E. Larson (bronze).  

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