A record number of students - 5,411 - took part in some 91 events at the 45th annual Skills USA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo. Included were more than 50 students in the Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration event.
“With more than 250,000 students (in SkillsUSA), you are among the top 2 percent of all students in the country,” Joseph Galli of Techtronic Industries told those gathered for the closing medals ceremony at the end of four days of activities. The chief executive officer of the company that includes Milwaukee Tool among its brand names called the 2009 competitors “the most talented, enthusiastic, and impressive group ever in SkillsUSA.”
He added, “Your potential is extraordinary. Now you have to go and pursue it.”
AND THE WINNERS ARE...Among those in pursuit were the six winners in the HVACR contest. In the college/post-secondary division the gold medal went to Ryan Reekers of Ankeny, Iowa, representing Des Moines Area Community College. The silver went to Jake Roberts of El Reno, Okla., Canadian Valley Tech Center; and the bronze to Sampson Steen, Wichita, Kan., Wichita Area Technical College.
In the high school division, recognition went to John Huhn, Newark, Del., Paul M. Hodgson Vo-Tech, gold; Nick Morgan, Crawfordsville, Ind., West Central Indiana Career & Tech Education, silver; and Damian Stasek, Brecksville, Ohio, Cuyahoga Valley JVS, bronze.
The contestants took a written exam and demonstrated skills in brazing, refrigeration component service, air measurement and troubleshooting, refrigerant recovery, and electrical troubleshooting. During the daylong competition, they worked on ice machines, refrigerated display cases, small package HVAC units, furnaces, and split system air conditioning units. They were judged on the basis of their use of tools and test equipment, speed, accuracy, and safety.
IN SUPPORTThe members of the national technical committee for HVACR included co-chair Lynn Bosse, Lennox Industries Inc.; co-chair Bob Mikell, Carrier Corp.; Larry Banas, Emerson Climate Services LLC; Mike Eckstein, Refrigeration Service Engineers Society; Raymond Granderson, Rheem Manufacturing; Bob Henson, Harris Products Group; Les Karcher, Carrier Corp.; David King, Lennox Industries Inc.; Rick Lebeau, JKL Technical Sales; Warren Lupson, Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute; Jerry Meyer, Hussmann Corp.; and, Patrick Murphy, North American Technician Excellence.
A national education team assists the national technical committee. Members of the education team included Chair Rick Dorssom, Hillyard Technical Center (Mo.); George Hoeffner, Hillyard Technical Center; and Todd Huxford, South Central College (Minn.)
A VISIONIn his remarks during the opening ceremonies, SkillsUSA Executive Director Tim Lawrence spoke of Vision 2020, a long range-planning project. He told the audience of teens and young adults, “Image a six-year-old. What will SkillsUSA be to them when they are your age?” That, he said, is one of the motivations for launching Vision 2020.