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National Conference Still Changing Lives

July 15th, 2012

The National Leadership and Skills Conference is always an exciting—transforming—experience involving 15,000 of our closest friends. It’s also humbling to realize how much our collective work affects lives. Many teachers said to me and to staff: “Thank you for what you do for our students.”

Of course, that includes you. By way of example, board member Greg Rintala forwarded an email he received from Tina Oswald-White of mikeroweWORKS Foundation with an attached thank-you note from a student who received a mikeroweWORKS travel scholarship. The email commended the board members “who work so hard behind the scenes . . . and do so much not only for the organization but for the students and our future workforce.” The student’s note said in part “[This experience] opened my eyes to how much potential I have in the world, something I have never seen before.”

I wish everyone could have heard the Assistant Secretary of Labor Jane Oates say during the Special Guest Breakfast on Tuesday, “Scholarships and internships are wonderful for individuals. Support for SkillsUSA is an investment in capacity building for the American workforce.”

All of our special guests including Jane Oates, Assistant Secretary of Education Brenda Dann-Messier, Bill Symonds of the Harvard Pathways to Prosperity Project and many more were all amazed by the conference. As one of our first-time guests said to me, “If Secretary of Education Arne Duncan could see this, he’d stop talking about ‘islands of excellence’ in CTE.”

I’m not even going to start recounting all of the corporate executives in attendance, but it was delightful to have the top executives from two of our best sponsors attending the conference together, Jim Lentz of Toyota and Nick Pinchuk of Snap-on. I understand each had a marvelous time and I know Jim was in the news more than once. Here’s one TV clip including Jim –

Speaking of news, the early report on coverage in the Kansas City area media includes 79 separate stories and that doesn’t even include stories that are coming in on area winners. For the first time ever this year, we had three of the four TV networks covering the Championships live simultaneously and multiple times on Tuesday morning. There were 24 stories on Tuesday alone. Several years ago, we asked the Convention and Visitors Association what other Kansas City convention SkillsUSA should use as a benchmark for news coverage. The answer was “SkillsUSA is the benchmark. No organization gets the coverage you get.” We’re also picking up national coverage.

New APEX Awards

July 14th, 2012

The SkillsUSA publications department has won recognition in the annual APEX (Awards for Publication Excellence) program for two SkillsUSA projects in these categories:

  • Member and Customer Communications: 2011-2012 SkillsUSA Membership Kit.
  • Magazines and Journals, Print: SkillsUSA Champions.

APEX awards are based on excellence in graphic design, editorial content and the success of the entries in achieving overall communications effectiveness and excellence. For 24 years, APEX has judged and presented these awards to professional communicators. From almost 3,300 total entries this year, only about 30 percent were recognized with awards. Other winners this year include T. Rowe Price, Boy Scouts of America, Kraft Foods, the Walt Disney Co., Ford Motor Co., American Airlines, NFL and American Cancer Society.

2012-13 Board of Directors

July 13th, 2012

The 2012-13 SkillsUSA Inc. Board of Directors has been announced:

President and Region II Representative – James King, Tennessee Board of Regents

Vice President and Region III Representative – Brent Kindred, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Secretary and Business & Industry Representative — Chris Arvin, Caterpillar University

Region I Representative – Gerald Tylka, Pennsylvania Department of Education

* Region IV Representative – Peggy Torenns, Kansas Department of Education

Region V Representative – Dave Milliken, Utah State Office of Education

Chair of the State Directors’ Association – Michael Cowles, Ohio Association of SkillsUSA

NASDCTEc Liaison – to be announced at a later date

ACTE Liaison – Jeffery Johnson, Frances Tuttle Technology Center, Okla.

College/Postsecondary Representative – Kathryn Jo Mannes, American Association of Community Colleges

Business & Industry Representative – Nick Mastrone, IRWIN Industrial Tools

Business & Industry Representative – Russ Hoffbauer, State Farm Insurance Companies

Business & Industry Representative – Troy Dally, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Business & Industry Representative – Joe Pietrantonio, Air Products

*Youth Development Foundation Committee Chairman and Business Representative – Dave Camden, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

*Denotes a new member of the Board of Directors

2012-13 Alumni Coordinating Committee Announced

July 13th, 2012

Following the recent election, the 2012-13 Alumni Coordinating Committee has been announced:

  • Executive Chair: Bryan Doxford, New York
  • Region 1 Representative: Emily Hughes, Maine
  • Region 2 Representative: Joey Baker, Florida
  • Region 3 Representative: Anne Dew, Ohio
  • Region 4 Representative: Cody McPherson, Oklahoma
  • Region 5 Representative: Colleen Read, Nevada
  • State Association Director Liaison: Peyton Holland, North Carolina

The committee has already conducted it’s first conference call and members are looking forward to working with their respective state association directors during the coming year. To contact your regional representative, go to:

Harley-Davidson Raffle Winner

July 12th, 2012

Thanks to a generous donation by our friends at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., SkillsUSA hosted a drawing for a 2012 Dyna® Super Glide® Motorcycle at the 2012 NLSC Awards Ceremony, Wednesday, June 27, in Kansas City, Mo.

As a special addition to the raffle, Harley-Davidson teamed up with Justin Barnes to custom paint the bike. You may know Justin of JB Grafix from his appearances on the Discovery Channel program, “American Chopper.”

The winner of the custom-painted 2012 Dyna Super Glide was Jacob Fulferd from St. Augustine, Fla. Congratulations to Jacob and a special thank you to Harley-Davidson and JB Grafix.

Sample Press Release for NLSC Competitors and Participants Reminder

July 12th, 2012

A sample press release has been added to SkillsUSA’s advocacy site. It’s a template to be used by state association directors, instructors, parents and others to help get the word out to the media about the students who competed or participated in some other way (i.e., as a delegate, Courtesy Corps member, etc.) during the National Leadership and Skills Conference.

The press release can be sent to five media outlets at a time through the advocacy site.

Be sure to spread the word about this valuable tool.

Thank you for a successful conference!

July 2nd, 2012

Just a quick note to thank all involved for another record-breaking National Leadership and Skills Conference. I’m grateful for each of you for helping make the 2012 NLSC one to be remembered and one that truly changed lives for the better.

If you are looking for the listing of medalists or if you’re a competitor and need your score, visit:

A couple of notes about contest scores, you need your contestant number and your date of birth to access your score. If you don’t know your contestant number, contact your state association director. Also, in some cases, the person who registered the student has put an incorrect birth date in the system. If you can’t access your score with your contestant number and birth date, click here to get help.

Finally, if you are a medalist and would like to get a copy of your photo taken backstage, download this form to request that photo.

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