Judge John Clark reviews a servicing technique with a SkillsUSA contestant.

KANSAS CITY, MO — The statistics tell part of the story. Some 12,500 students, teachers and business partners came to Kansas City in the midst of summer for the 37th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference (a.k.a., the SkillsUSA-VICA Championship).

In Bartle Hall, 4,000 young people competed in 72 different trade, technical, and leadership fields. All were winners of state and regional contests. About 50 of them were in the hvacr sector. Ten work stations in the hvacr area offered testing in such areas as air handling, heating, air conditioning, compressors, recovery, soldering, and ice machines.

The contestants worked their way around the various stations performing tasks while being watched by judges from the industry.

Scores were recorded and tallies entered into a computer. Contestants wore identical white uniforms and were identified only by numbers.

From the competition, six emerged as top finishers — three from the ranks of those still in secondary schools, and three from the post-secondary.

Once the testing was done, names were announced. In the secondary level, Tom Hollified of Muskogee, OK, won the gold; Nicholas Petrusonis of Shelton, CT, earned silver; and Derek Dagesse of Taunton, MA, took bronze.

Post-secondary winners were Craig Dort of Springfield, MO, gold; Joshua Halin of Butler, PA, silver; and Anthony Keating of LaPlace, LA, bronze.

The mid-week contest was center point of nearly a week of activities.

Hvacr contestants hear ground rules for competition.

High Standards

SkillsUSA-VICA is a national organization serving 250,000 high school and college students interested in technical, skilled, and service occupations. Much of the week in Kansas City stressed the value of such careers as well as, according to the organization, “the dignity of work, high standards in trade ethics, workmanship, scholarship, and safety.”

Opening sessions and educational seminars touched upon those components. The week concluded with a full-scale rally in the huge Kemper Arena. Attendees paraded informally through the arena carrying state banners. This was followed by the election of SkillsUSA officers, and the formal awarding of gold, silver, and bronze metals in each skills area.

A key to the success of the week came from the more than 1,000 business, industry, and labor sponsors who provided financial aid, in-kind contributions, and involvement of their people.

In the hvacr area, all contestants took home gifts including tools and literature. The winners took home an even larger motherlode of practical products.

Hvacr Sponsors

Among those supporting Skills-USA in the hvacr field are ARI, Alco, American Tool, Amprobe, A.W. Sperry, Bacharach, Carrier, Concept Technology, Cooper, Copeland, CPS, DeWalt, DuPont, Fieldpiece, First Choice, Fluke, Imperial, ICP, J.B. Industries, Johnson Controls, Johnstone, J.W. Harris, Key Refrigeration, Klein, Lennox, Leybold Inficon, Malco, Mueller, NATE, National Refrig-eration, Porter Cable, Raytek, Rheem, Ritchie, Robinair, RSES, Sears, Scotsman, Smith Equipment, Superior Signal, Thermal Engineering, TIF, Turbotorch, Uniweld, Uvex, Victor, and Virginia KMP.

Beyond the goodie bag, hvacr contestants gained hands-on knowledge of their own strengths and weakness under the eyes of industry experts. After the daylong contest, contestants were debriefed by manufacturer reps as to proper procedures in each of the 10 testing areas.

That, combined with the formal recognition at SkillsUSA attached to a r?m?is designed to put the contestants in a good position for jobs in an industry desperately seeking qualified technicians.

Sidebar: PHCC Part of SkillsUSA

KANSAS CITY, MO — The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association (PHCC) was part of the SkillsUSA-VICA Championship. PHCC was cosponsor and comanager of two contests, residential plumbing and sheet metal. The association also had an exhibit booth.

Thirty-eight students competed in the residential plumbing competition, which consisted of roughing-in water, drain, and vent piping, and installing lavatory, faucet, water closet, and shower fittings. Contestants were judged on accuracy to specified measurements, workmanship, proper selection and use of tools and supplies, and proper safety practices.

Twenty-seven sheet metal contestants performed jobs such as connecting sheet metal pieces with drive cleats, spot welding, and riveting. They were judged on the basis of their use of hand tools, correctness of layout, and shop safety procedures.

This year’s winners are:

Residential plumbing contest, high school (secondary) — Jason Leighton, Bangor, ME, gold; Preston Murray, Kaysville, UT, silver; Steven Dockery, Cleveland, GA, bronze; post-secondary — Eddie Saunders, Salt Lake City, UT, gold; Albert Rice, Springdale, AR, silver; Jahmal Leonard, Pensacola, FL, bronze.

Sheet metal contest, high school (secondary) — Kensey Jacques, Ogden, UT, gold; Alejandro Contreras, Tucson, AZ, silver: Steven Stauffer, Leonardtown, MD, bronze; post-secondary — Corey Horspool, Ogden, UT, gold; Kevin Steen, Bismarck, ND, silver; Kenneth Price, Augusta, GA, bronze.

Publication date: 09/03/2001