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Winning WorldTeam Returns from Brazil

December 1st, 2012

SkillsUSA WorldTeamThe 11 members of the SkillsUSA WorldTeam and 12 technical experts returned on November 19 from a victorious showing in São Paulo during the WorldSkills Americas competitions from November 11 – 18. There were 23 other countries participating in the competitions. I’m proud to announce that seven members of the team won medals in seven of the 10 competitions SkillsUSA entered. The winners are:

  • Automobile Technology — Kieron Kohlmann, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich. — Gold and “Best in Nation”
  • Cabinetmaking — Daniel Berrios, Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, Pa. — Gold
  • Autobody Repair — George Mason, Lexington Technology Center, Lexington, S.C. — Gold
  • Plumbing and Heating — Nicholas Michalenko, Smith Vocational, Northampton, Mass. — Silver
  • CNC Milling — Joshua Bedell, Pinellas Technical Education Center, Clearwater, Fla. — Silver
  • CNC Turning — Ronald Olkowski, Ferris State University, Big Rapids, Mich. — Bronze
  • Cooking — Matthew Lorman, North Point High School, Waldorf, Md. — Bronze

Contestants in Graphic Design Technology, Web Design and the Mechatronics team did not place but they and everyone involved now have the experience of international competition and that’s all to the good. We’ll have a debriefing soon, so I’ll have more details next time.

News releases on all of the members of WorldTeam — including WorldSkills Americas information — will be sent to hometown and state newspapers, trade publications and posted online last week. To see photos of the WorldTeam in Brazil, please visit:

New Mexico Board Training

December 1st, 2012

On November 1-2, I was in Albuquerque, N.M. to conduct board training and to facilitate the state association’s strategic planning. My events began with a speech to the technical committees of the New Mexico SkillsUSA Championships. The dinner was catered by a local chapter. It was great to see planning for the spring conference taking place this early.

On the second full day, I reviewed with the 23 board members the roles and responsibilities of non-profit boards of directors, and we got a good start on a strategic plan. Their biggest issue is how to serve and recognize high school students and college/postsecondary students separately and they wrote objectives to address their goals of membership services, fiscal integrity and marketing and promotion.

Thanks and congratulations go to Saundra Castillo, New Mexico state association director, and to her board.


December 1st, 2012
  • On November 7, a staff member and I took the train to West Orange, N.J. to meet with the CEO, two group VPs, the marketing director and the business development director of Lincoln Educational Systems, the parent company of Lincoln Technical Institute among several other colleges. We were joined by Pete Carey, New Jersey state association director, three of his advisors and two of his state officers, both from the Gloucester County Institute of Technology.
  • The Alumni Coordinating Committee met at the national center for a three-day meeting, November 9-11. They reviewed their FY13 objectives, did some FY14 planning and put together plans for the national conference.
  • We recently received some good news on sponsorship. 3M Company, which was a sponsor years ago, has pledged in-kind support for the SkillsUSA Championships and pledged $36,000 to support our WorldTeam Cabinetmaking contestant. And, Interstate Battery System of America has already pledged $25,000 for next year. Interstate is pleased by the response of our chapters to the fundraising plan calling it the “best early response by any organization.”
  • Two staff members represented the national office during the recent Mid-America Conference in Columbus, Nebraska. They report it was a highly successful experience for all of the students and teachers attending and that Greg Stahr, Nebraska state association director, did a great job leading the event.
  • Welcome to our newest board member representing NASDCTEc, Scott Stump, Colorado associate provost for career and technical education. Scott is currently serving as NASDCTEc’s secretary/treasurer, and he knows student organizations having worked for National FFA and served as state FFA advisor.
  • And, finally, the board will be meeting by webinar, December 3-4. The spring board meeting will be held on March 13, hosted by Nick Mastrone at IRWIN corporate headquarters in Huntersville, N.C.

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