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Some 4,225 contestants, 1,300 judges, 400 exhibitors, and others brought the total count to more than 13,000 people, who descended upon the city for four days this summer.
Inside the convention complex, on the lower level of Bartle Hall, more exhibitors from trade schools, manufacturers, job search firms, job recruiters, insurance companies, and even a prominent maker of motorcycles, set up shop.
In the more serious fare, dozens of seminars focused on all aspects of vocational training. The centerpiece was the day-long national competition that resulted in the awarding of gold, silver, and bronze metals in various contest areas.
The WinnersThe HVACR sector is an integral part of the total competition; 52 winners of local and state HVACR competitions advanced to the nationals.
For eight hours, the contestants rotated among stations dealing with brazing, basic mechanical service, residential air conditioning airflow, electricity, display cases, ice machines, refrigerants, and furnaces.
Those competition areas were staffed by representatives from J.W. Harris, Emerson, Carrier, Lennox, Hussmann, Scotsman, JKL Sales, and Rheem, who also acted as judges. They were assisted in the judging by others from the industry, including a large contingent of Refrigeration Service Engineers Society (RSES) members.
Awards were presented to competitors from secondary and postsecondary schools.
In the secondary category, the gold went to Shawn Wasielewski, Career Institute of Technology, Easton, Pa.; silver to Michael Kelly, Southern Nevada Vocational Technical Center, Las Vegas; and bronze to Kyle L. Wingard, Indian Capital Technology Center, Muskogee, Okla.
Winners received tools, test equipment, and work clothing. Schools represented by winners also received training materials.
The HVACR sector had both a volunteer Technical Committee and a National Education Team. The committee included co-chair Rob Dohse, Carrier; co-chair Sherri Wilkerson, Carrier; Larry Banas, Emerson; Lynn Bosse, Lennox; Raymond Granderson, Rheem; James Knutson, Scotsman; Rick LeBeau, JKL Technical Sales; Jerry Meyer, Ingersoll-Rand; Bob Mikell, Carrier; Patrick Murphy, NATE; and Renee Tomlinson, RSES.
The National Education Team consisted of chair Rick Dorssom, Charles Dew, and George Hoeffner, all of Hillyard Technical Center in Missouri.
In a related competition, recognition was given to the top six finishers in a plumbing event that was organized and co-sponsored by the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association.
In the secondary division, the winners were Robert Lamica of Florence, Mass. (gold); Levi Johnson of Calvin, Pa. (silver); and Kevin Babb, Greer, S.C. (bronze). In the postsecondary division, the top three were Josh Singleton, Taylorsville, Utah (gold); Jack Blankenship III, Landrum, S.C. (silver); and George Lee, Albuquerque, N.M. (bronze).
Peter Powell, refrigeration editor of The News, also served as a judge in the SkillsUSA competition.
Publication date: 08/02/2004