Chris KuhnChristopher Kuhn is prepared to put the entire U.S. HVACR industry on his back. Kuhn, of Sheffield Lake, Ohio, will represent the U.S. in the Refrigeration/HVACR category at the WorldSkills competition, July 2-7 in Leipzig, Germany.

He earned his spot on the Skills-USA WorldTeam by earning the silver medal in the event at the SkillsUSA championships in June 2011, as a senior at Loarin County Joint Vocation School (JVS). A year earlier, Kuhn competed as a junior, winning the Ohio state competition in the HVACR category.

He will now represent his homeland at the 42nd international biennial event. “I’m so excited about being selected to represent the USA in Germany at the WorldSkills competition,” said Kuhn. “I think my biggest challenge will be working with the metric system and the different electrical voltages that Germany uses.”

Influences and Work Ethic

Kuhn credits Lorain County JVS teacher David Morgan for piquing his interest in HVACR.

“I decided to attend the Lorain County JVS because I had an interest in the heating and air conditioning field from working with my father. I struggled with reading and writing, but my instructor, David Morgan, helped me to develop ways to retain the material I needed to learn and develop my skills,” said Kuhn. “He also introduced me to the refrigeration side of the field. After that, I decided that I wanted to specialize in refrigeration.”

Morgan praised Kuhn for his work ethic, acknowledging his accomplishments thus far in the HVACR vocation. “Chris is a remarkable young man. He always gives 110 percent on every task and constantly looks forward to new challenges,” said Morgan. “Together, Chris, I, and his Lorain County JVS teachers worked on strategies for him to use that would help him conquer his learning challenges, which contributed to his success in the HVACR program.

“As a junior, he passed all of the industry competency exams (ICE) in residential and commercial refrigeration. He was a gold medalist in the Ohio SkillsUSA competition in both his junior and senior years, holds six NATE [North American Technician Excellence] certifications, and is a Level 5 Pro-Tech technician.

“Chris has worked hard to earn his success and is well deserving of this honor. We are all very proud of him and his accomplishments,” said Morgan.

Kuhn served as an intern his senior year at Gundlach Sheet Metal Works Inc., Sandusky, Ohio, and impressed management enough to gain employment at the location.

Roger M. Gundlach, P.E., president/treasurer of Gundlach Sheet Metal, said, “Chris has an exceptional skill level for his age and takes advantage of every educational opportunity we offer him. He should be well prepared for this competition.”

The Big Event

According to the WorldSkills International website, the organization is a nonprofit membership association open to agencies or bodies which have a responsibility for promoting vocational education and training in their respective countries/regions. The gathering provides a unique means of exchange and comparison of world-class competency standards in the industrial trades and service sectors of the global economy.

Formerly called the Skill Olympics, the first competition was held in 1950 in Madrid. “Just as in sports competitions, winning contestants will be awarded medals and honors,” saiad Tim Lawrence, executive director, SkillsUSA. “The difference between this and sports, however, is that nations rise on the success of their workforce. Skilled, capable, and flexible workers are the backbone of any nation’s economy and this competition highlights that fact.”

At this year’s event, more than 1,000 challengers; 5,000 international experts, delegates, and judges; 3,000 volunteers; and 150,000 student and public spectators are expected to attend the competition. The contenders will come from 53 countries and will compete in 43 official competitions and five demonstration contests. During the event, along with more traditional trade areas, contestants also vie in newer technology fields such as information network cabling, mechanical engineering design – CAD (computer-aided design), and mobile robotics.

SkillsUSA will field 20 participants in 19 contest areas, which include autobody/collision repair, auto service, cabinetmaking, car painting, CNC milling and turning, cooking/culinary, aesthetics/beauty therapy, graphic design, hairdressing, IT networks systems, masonry, mechatronics, plumbing, print media/graphic design, refrigeration/HVACR, restaurant service, Web design, and welding.

Publication date: 6/24/2013 

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