Legal / Privacy / Index / Membership Login
StudentsEducatorsSupportersAbout UsEventsCompeteJoinConnectShopContact

Home > Tim's Blog

Florida State Conference

June 1st, 2011

My tour to meet with great students and instructors during state SkillsUSA spring conferences came to an end with my ninth conference in Bradenton, Fla. at the Manatee Technical Institute from May 2-4. This was Florida’s largest conference with over 3,000 attending, 1,700 competitors and 110 competitions. It always amazes me when I attend state-level SkillsUSA Championships that hold more contests than SkillsUSA does at the national level, but the answer in the states is always the same: “We do it for the students.” Now, I’m looking forward to seeing those students at the national conference in Kansas City.

One of the many things that impressed me in Florida was the amount of industry support they have in the contests. That includes many of our partners on the national level including Caterpillar (from the Ring Power CAT dealership), Lowe’s, Toyota, Whirlpool, Snap-on, Cummins, Inc., and Penske. When we talk about the breadth and depth of the SkillsUSA network, it was certainly in evidence in Florida.

Brandon Mullings, a past national officer from Ocala was the keynote speaker and Florida got to hear a little from me, too. Dr. Mary Cantrell, director of the Manatee Technical Institute and I did a TV interview together. She told the reporter that when she started rebuilding Manatee a few years ago to be a nationally-recognized school “I built it around SkillsUSA.” She also said that when they break ground for a new multi-million dollar campus in June, SkillsUSA will once again be her flagship. It was also, of course, a pleasure to spend time with state association director, Carl Miller, the Florida board of directors and the state officer team.

SkillsUSA’s Recent Webinars

June 1st, 2011

SkillsUSA has been making use of our online capabilities with a series of webinars for members and leaders. On May 10, Niki Clausen and the Alumni & Friends Association offered another in their Professional Development Webinar series, using the expertise of SkillsUSA alumni. This one was on financial management and was conducted by Bryan Doxford, a past national officer from Utah, and now a credit analyst AVP at New York Business Development Corporation. Alumni webinars are recorded and archived on the SkillsUSA website on the alumni page.

On the evening of May 11, we had the initial briefing webinar for the SkillsUSA WorldTeam to help team members prepare for things such as international travel. Most of the team was online. In a couple of instances, mom or grandmother were sitting in because the team member had to be at work. Mark Claypool, team leader moderated. Joining him online were Don Hatton, technical delegate to WorldSkills International, and Ada Kranenberg, official delegate to WorldSkills International.

And, on May 12, we held a webinar with the officers of the SkillsUSA State Association Directors Executive Committee to finalize the agenda and best practice and training sessions for the association’s August meeting. Also discussed were constitutional amendments and this month’s national conference.


June 1st, 2011
  • I have the honor announcing the addition of a new board member. Mark Williams, division administrator, Career Development Division, Illinois State Board of Education has agreed to serve in the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education consortium ex officio position previously held by Milt Ericksen. I hope Mark will be with us in June and I look forward to working with him.
  • I have the additional honor of announcing a new Youth Development Foundation committee member, Michael Arndt, director of training, United Association. According to our records, Michael will be the first union official to serve on the YDF. United Association is supporting our Refrigeration contestant at WorldSkills London and UA has supported contestants at the past two WorldSkills Competitions
  • Groups of 30 students and teachers from the various career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) met with Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary at the Office of Vocational and Adult Education in Washington on May 6. There was lots of diversity of opinion – particularly among the teachers – as to the meanings and importance of college-ready and career-ready. One teacher said: “All students should get a four-year degree.” Another pointed out the value of CTE when students can earn an associate’s degree in high school with dual credits. Students believed the assistant secretary learned more about the value of CTSOs and how CTSO membership has changed their lives. Nursing student Cloe Ayenu and counselor Martha Lowry, both from Frederick County Career Center in Maryland, represented SkillsUSA. Also in the delegation were National Officer Ricky Jordan from Massachusetts and Deb Tripp, SkillsUSA associate director of training and a former graphic arts teacher.
  • On May 4-5, I attended the BPA (Business Professionals of America) national conference in Washington, D.C. The opening ceremony was held on the grounds of the Washington Monument. It was really impressive with the lights of the monument and the flags in the background. It was also cold. BPA recognized each of the CTSOs in attendance including SkillsUSA, FBLA, FCCLA and National FFA. Between 3,000-4,000 people attended the conference.
  • On April 29-30, I attended the ProStart event in Overland Park, Kan. ProStart is the national competition for the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation. Teams of three students competed in Culinary and in Culinary Management. Forty states represented about 300 contestants. Several of the instructors attending were also SkillsUSA advisors and they said their students would be in Kansas City this month. We’re aligning standards between SkillsUSA and ProStart, and they’re also aligning their curriculum to the same standards.
  • SkillsUSA’s CTE advocacy efforts on the “Dear Colleague” letter to Congress from May 5-12 were good. We just need to work our way up to great. During the week, 67 people called or wrote 69 messages to 53 congressional offices. We do appreciate all the support, and lots of people responded to us that they liked knowing what was happening and having the chance to participate.
  • On May 9, representatives from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) visited with us in Leesburg to talk about how they could help us get our educational materials in front of industry including the Skill Connect Assessments. NCCER has also taken over the leadership of the Carpentry contest and they’re bringing their national board to our conference this year. Board members include representatives from several major corporations and commercial contractors.
  • And, as of May 27, we had 9,686 national conference registrants and 5,764 contestants. Last year’s totals were 9,606 registrants and 5,595 contestants, and we still have weeks to go.

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation Travel Scholarship

June 1st, 2011

The mikeroweWORKS Foundation, in partnership with SkillsUSA, is announcing a new scholarship opportunity for SkillsUSA members who have placed first in their state association contests this year. The scholarship is to provide support for state contest winners who have insufficient chapter, school or community resources to participate in the 2011 National SkillsUSA Championships.

Twenty $1,000 scholarships will be given away to offset costs of travel and conference participation. Winners will also have the opportunity to attend a luncheon with a member of The mikeroweWORKS Foundation staff.

Acceptance is based on a one-page narrative submitted by the student and a letter of support from the student’s advisor or state association director. Applications must be postmarked by June 3. Winners will be notified the following week.

For additional information and the application form, please link to

Got Champions?

June 1st, 2011

At the national conference, the staff of SkillsUSA Champions magazine will be on the lookout for interview subjects and cover models.

If you know of a SkillsUSA student, advisor, industry representative or alumnus who will be at conference and would be a great Champion to interview for our magazine, please email Tom Hall. He’ll then set up a specific time to meet with the magazine staff.

In addition, if you know of a student who could be a potential cover model, there are designated “photo studio” hours below. Please let Tom know if your student member will be coming.

  • Tuesday, June 21, 7 p.m.-9 p.m., at Champions Night at the Power and Light District (upper level, near the elevator for the “Living Room”)
  • Wednesday, June 22, 1 p.m.-1:45 p.m., Bartle Hall, Room 2212 (near the business center between Lobbies 2200 and 2300)
  • Friday, June 24, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Bartle Hall, Room 2212

Four photos will be chosen to appear on SkillsUSA Champions covers next year. The remaining photos will appear in various materials, from the membership poster to other promotions.

Our magazine staff looks forward to meeting your Champions at conference!

Blood Drives at NLSC

June 1st, 2011

The following update was received last week from the Community Blood Center (CBC) of Kansas City regarding the recent tornado damage in Joplin, Mo.

“Many people want to help, so here is what we need: The Community Blood Center of the Ozarks has asked for our help this summer to help replace blood drives that will be lost in the Joplin area due to the tornado. Every blood center struggles to collect enough blood during the summer, and we are no exception. Our summer blood inventory is often at a one day supply or less and we will not be able to help Joplin unless we can meet the needs of our hospitals first. Please help us increase our blood collection during the summer months, so we in turn can help all of those hospitals and patients in the Joplin area.”

This is a last  reminder that there will be two blood drives as part of the National Leadership and Skills Conference. Both drives will be sponsored by the Kansas City Community Blood Center and will be held:

  • Monday, June 20, Bartle Hall, Room 2101 – 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and
  • Friday, June 24, Bartle Hall, Room 2105 – 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Please try to take the time during one of these days to stop by when you can and participate in this worthy cause and help save a life. All students who register May 9 to August 13 to give blood will be entered into a drawing to win a free iPad. Appointments can be made ahead of time at: and enter the sponsor code “SkillsUSA.”

Note: Donors must weigh no less than 115 lbs and must be at least 17 years of age (or a donor can be 16 years of age with written parental permission).

Alumni Coordinating Committee Elections and Proposed Constitutional Amendments

June 1st, 2011

All registered alumni members are eligible to participate in the 2011 Alumni Coordinating Committee elections and voting on the proposed constitutional amendments. Representatives for Regions 1, 3 and 5, and on the proposed amendments, will be this ballot. Alumni members may vote only once online at Voting will be open from June 1-15, 2011.

Ballots will be counted at the 2011 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, and results will be announced on Friday, June 24, at the Annual Alumni Appreciation Luncheon at 2 p.m.

Please contact Niki Clausen at 703-737-0639 or with questions.

5K Champions Run on June 24 Reminder

June 1st, 2011

Sponsored by the SkillsUSA Alumni & Friends Association, SkillsUSA will be holding the fourth annual 5K Champions Run in Kansas City during the National Leadership and Skills Conference. This year, the race takes place on Friday, June 24, at 9 a.m. at the English Landing Park in Parkville, Mo. The park is about 15 minutes from downtown.

Transportation to the park will be provided from the Convention Center at 8:00 a.m. (students can shuttle from hotels to the Convention Center on Friday morning and then ride a designated bus to the 5K race or use private transportation).

Registration is $20 per person and includes a unique T-shirt for the first 300 who register. Awards will be presented to the first 300 finishers, and the fastest three males and females will be recognized. No headphones, strollers, animals, skates or skateboards will be allowed on the racecourse. Register now to be a part of this fun event that benefits the alumni organization. For more information, please visit:

2011 Washington Leadership Training Institute

June 1st, 2011

The 2011 WLTI will be held on September 17-21 at the Hyatt Dulles. State association directors, please read the following to help you with registration.

Application and Registration Process
The national office has outlined steps for this year’s WLTI registration process. Students who are interested in attending MUST apply to their state office, be accepted by their state office and meet state approval prior to being registered. Advisors and other participants do not need to apply through their state office and can follow the registration steps below. WLTI application, registration and liability/medical forms are available online.

Please contact the national office at 1-800-321-8422 if you wish to have WLTI forms mailed/faxed to you, ask for Susan Trent. Questions about the application process can be directed to Deborah Tripp at 1-800-321-8422, ext. 637 or

WLTI General Directions:
All student applications and registrations will be conducted through their respective state association offices. Applications are due to their state office by August 10, 2011. Please note: students MUST apply and be accepted by their state associations prior to registration. All applications and registration forms can be downloaded and printed from our website at or obtained from the state director.

For state association directors who will be sending information to your advisors and students, following are the steps for student and advisor applications.

Steps for Student Application to their State Office:

  1. Students need to obtain an application form by: (a) downloading from the SkillsUSA website, (b) from their state director, or (c) calling the national office to have one faxed, call 1-800-321-8422, ask for Susan Trent.
  2. Applications must be typed, neat, complete and free of errors. Complete and send to their state office.
  3. Deadline for applications to be sent to their state office is August 10, 2011.
  4. The state association director must/will notify students whether they are accepted or not. If accepted, students can then fill out their registration forms for the conference and return them to the state director who will submit the registrations to the national office.

Steps for Student Registration Through Their State Office:

  1. Obtain a registration form, by (a) downloading from our website, (b) from the state director, or (c) call the national office to have one faxed. Call 1-800-332-8422 and ask for Susan Trent with questions.
  2. Complete the registration form AND medical release information. Submit to the students’ state association director with payment by August 10, 2011. The deadline for the state director to register a student is August 26, 2011.
  3. Once the national office receives the registration, the student will receive a confirmation letter.
  4. Complete the pre-conference assignment (found on the website) and the student should take it to WLTI. Students can obtain the pre-conference assignment form by (a) downloading it from our website, (b) from their state director, or (c) by calling the national office to have one faxed. Call 1-800-321-8422, ext. 637 and ask for Deborah Tripp.

Steps for Advisor Registration:

  1. Obtain a registration form by (a) downloading from our website, (b) from the state director, or (c) by calling the national office to have one faxed. Call 1-800-332-8422 and ask for Susan Trent.
  2. Complete the registration form AND medical release information. Submit to their state association director with payment by August 10, 2011. The deadline for the state director to register the advisor is August 26, 2011.

Once the national office receives the advisor registration, the advisor will receive a confirmation letter, tentative agenda and pre-conference information.

Steps for the State Director to Register Participants:

  1. Obtain registration forms either from our website or request a set be mailed to you, so that you may provide forms when requests are made.
  2. Approve/disapprove student applications. Notify students you approve and ask each to complete the registration forms AND medical release information and send to you by August 26, 2011.
  3. Please note: we are asking you to encourage all members to apply and attend WLTI, not just state officers. The experience is designed to be a capstone event for personal leadership development.
  4. Submit all registration/medical forms with payment to Susan Trent, SkillsUSA, 14001 SkillsUSA Way, Leesburg, VA 20176-5494. Susan can be reached at 1-800-321-8422.
  5. All registration forms must be received in the national office no later than August 26, 2011.

Courtesy Corps Auction Reminder

June 1st, 2011

We need everyone’s help with the National Courtesy Corps annual auction. As you know, every year, the national Conference Management Team – Auction Committee collects items to be auctioned that help raise money for the National Courtesy Corps. The Auction will be held on Friday, June 24th, in Lobby 2200, Room 2215C, Bartle Hall, Kansas City Convention Center, beginning at 11 a.m.

We urge instructors to donate items, possibly student projects from their schools. All of this helps with expenses incurred as a result of having the valuable talents of the Courtesy Corps at our disposal during the NLSC. If you have items you would like to donate to sell at the auction, please either mail them to the attention of NCC Auction, c/o Byekwaso Gilbert, SkillsUSA, 1100 Main Street, Suite 2200, Kansas City, MO 64105-2040, or leave donated items with the national conference registration staff in Lobby 2100, Room 2103A of the Kansas City Convention Center when registering your state delegation.

Please plan to attend the Auction and join in the fun. Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure! So, be sure to clean out your closets and garages and send us some “treasures.”

If you have questions, please contact Byekwaso Gilbert at

%d bloggers like this: