NORTH CANTON, Ohio — The Akron-Canton Chapter of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) recently sponsored the 2012 Regional Skills USA Ohio Challenge on the campus of Stark State College.

The regional competition pits high school students against one another across five judged categories including soft skills, brazing, troubleshooting and component identification, sheet metal fabrication, and electrical.

The soft skills competition required students to fill out an employment application and participate in interviews facilitated by local HVACR business owners.

The brazing competition focused on participants’ ability to prepare and set up work materials, with an emphasis on safety and leakage.

The troubleshooting and component identification category judged students on their ability to identify various HVACR equipment and parts, and to troubleshoot a furnace and air conditioner as if they were a technician inside a customer’s home.

The sheet metal fabrication category required students to construct a small fitting including crossbreaks and drives. Entries were judged on neatness, safety, professionalism, and quality.

The electrical category allowed contestants to use both a wiring schematic and meter to solve a wiring problem, and to jump from one switch and relay to another to make a light go off.

“We’ve had students from this region advance to the National Skills USA competition five of the last six years,” said Doug Carpenter, contractor, Carpenter Comfort, New Philadelphia, Ohio. “This year we are proud to announce that we have a senior from last year that was selected to represent the U.S. at World Skills next year in Germany. He is currently employed by Gundlach Sheet Metal and has six NATE certifications. This is the first student we have had that will compete in the World Skills competition. That’s very exciting.”

Winners included Ryan Garvin, Akron Public Schools; Owen Ambrose, Auburn Career Center; Steve Salisbury, Lorain County Vocational Center; Jeff Krist, Medina County Career Center; Matthew Paison, Polaris Career Center; and Dale Thompson, R. G. Drage.

The top school, Medina Career Center, was awarded an Appion vacuum pump worth more than $900. The overall regional challenge winner was Jeff Krist, Medina County Career Center. Krist received a $1,000 scholarship to Stark State College, courtesy of the ACCA state chapter (ACCO). Stark State College offers a two-year associate’s degree in HVAC technology and has partnered with Ferris State University (Big Rapids, Mich.) to offer an additional two-year degree, allowing a graduate to earn a bachelor’s degree in HVAC.

Publication date: 04/30/2012