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State Farm-funded Training Update

June 15th, 2012

Chapter Management Institute (CMI)
July 17, 2012
Where: Omni Corpus Cristi Hotel Bayfront and Marina Tower Corpus Cristi, Texas
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Registration Deadline: July 3, 2012
Fee: Training and materials are free to participants. There is a $30 registration fee to cover lunch and breaks.
Contact: Jennifer Davis at 888-480-8482 or

Region IV Advanced Chapter Management Institute (CMI)
July 30 – 31, 2012
Where: Best Western Premier the Lodge on Lake Detroit 1200 East Shore Drive Detroit Lake, MN 56501 218-761-8439
Time: Monday, July 30th 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. & Tuesday, July 31st 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Registration Deadline: June 15, 2012
Fee: Training and materials are free to participants. There is a $30 registration fee to cover lunch and breaks.
Contact: Jennifer Polz at 763-560-1932 or

Assistance for Shipping of Contest Awards

June 15th, 2012

We have secured assistance for Wednesday night to help those contest medal winners who receive heavy, bulky or a lot of industry awards. There will be a designated UPS shipping area at Kemper Arena and it will be announced to the state directors on Saturday, June 23rd. The advisors, or designated state representatives, can meet the medal winners at that UPS location to assist.

SkillsUSA is working with the UPS Store at 4741 Central, Kansas City, MO 64112. The store is located at the Country Club Plaza at the corner of Central and Ward Parkway. Telephone: 816-561-3226. Their email is They will accept credit cards, checks and cash as payment. Please pass the word to your advisors.

NLSC Mobile Site

June 14th, 2012

We have updated the mobile conference site which is designed for viewing on cell phones.

The site is not intended to replace the printed program or our regular website, but rather is a supplement with general information about NLSC. Please share it with others in your state. Just keep in mind that it is not a comprehensive conference site.

The address is

Last stop on the State Conference “Mega Tour”

June 1st, 2012

Pensacola, Florida, April 28 – May 2, was the final stop on my State Leadership Conference Mega Tour. State association director Tyler Kercher and his team managed a phenomenal conference, in fact, the largest conference in Florida history. Other state associations have been experiencing their largest conferences ever, too. Membership numbers and conference attendance seem to rise together.

When I spoke to the VIP reception, I added the word “community” to our SkillsUSA core statement as a partnership of students, teachers and industry because it seemed the entire community of Pensacola stepped up to support Tyler and SkillsUSA Florida. The anchor sponsor of the conference was Pensacola State College and a veritable Who’s Who of Northwest Florida provided support. The vast majority of Championships competitions were held at the Pensacola Civic Center. It was also the venue for the Opening and Awards Ceremonies. There were approximately 2,200 competitors and 3,000 SkillsUSA attendees. Surrounding the Championships was an impressive Career Expo called “The World of Possibilities,” and over 3,000 middle school students toured the competitions and participated in the Expo. The downtown streets of Pensacola were closed down for a big block party following the Championships.

Visiting dignitaries included the Mayor of Pensacola, State Senator Greg Evers, the president of Gulf Power and officials from the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development officials. I met with Loretta Costin, vice chancellor, Division of Workforce Education. I had lunch with SkillsUSA Corporate Member Eric Owens, interim director, Career and Technical Department of Education. And, to top off my experience, I was thrilled that SkillsUSA’s 1993-94 national college/postsecondary division president – now state congressman – Jimmy Patronis attended the conference. Representative Patronis shared his SkillsUSA (VICA) story with the voting delegates.

While there, I also delivered a presentation on the Skill Connect Assessments to over 120 teachers and administrators, and I saw the Blue Angels fly over Pensacola Beach. Awesome! Big congratulations to Tyler Kercher and his team for completing his first state conference and thanks to the city of Pensacola for its wonderful support.

Meetings with NCCER – Back in Gator Country

June 1st, 2012

Following three days in the office, I was back on a plane to Jacksonville, Fla. for the NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) Board of Trustees meeting, May 8-11. On the evening of May 8, NCCER CEO Don Whyte, Board President Bob Parker, the board and over 100 special guests attended the dedication of NCCER’s new national headquarters building outside of Gainesville. It is an impressive facility and it was dedicated “to the men and women who build the world.” The main entrance to the building is accented with brick pavers that honor the companies and individuals who contributed to the building campaign. The SkillsUSA logo appears on two of the bricks. One is for the donation from and me and another staff member. The second is for the donation from Boyd Warsham, chairman of our National Carpentry Contest Technical Committee, former state carpentry competitor and SkillsUSA alumnus. Boyd is also the senior vice president of the Haskell Company, a major industrial construction company and the builder of the NCCER headquarters.

William Symonds from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and project director at the influential Pathways to Prosperity Project was one of the keynote speakers at the dedication. I had a long conversation with Symonds and he knows SkillsUSA very well. He told me his son’s life had been changed when he enrolled in a culinary program in Massachusetts and when he competed in the Massachusetts SkillsUSA Championships. During his speech, he spoke passionately about the need for CTE as a major element of education reform in the USA. He also announced that Harvard will convene a National Pathways to Prosperity Conference following the presidential election. He extended a personal invitation to me to participate. This is a discussion that SkillsUSA needs to be part of and I’m thrilled that we will be there.

I was appointed to another three-year term on the board of trustees during the board meeting the following day. Other board action included discussion of a new international outreach initiative in training, curriculum and assessments and a new marketing campaign, “Build Your Future,” to get youth excited about careers in construction.

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