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SkillsUSA WorldTeam Returns from Leipzig

July 15th, 2013

2013 SkillsUSA WorldTeamWe returned this past Monday from a great trip to the WorldSkills Competition (WSC), and we traveled with one of the best, most articulate and composed teams we’ve ever taken to international competition.

I’m not going to try writing a full report right now; after all, information is still coming in but I can report that the U.S. did well with the silver medal in Welding (and best in nation award) going to Alex Pazkowski, and medallions of excellence (scoring over 500 points where all contests are based on 600) won by Marcus Cain in IT Networking and Kieron Kohlmann in Automotive Technology. Pat Klaricki, the US technical expert in Print Media Technology won the WorldSkills Sustainability Award for having the greenest competition of the week. Everything printed by the contestants was used.

Here are a few bullet points. I know there will be more to come.

  • Our delegation comprised about 60 people including contestants and experts. If we add in the industry partners and others, the whole group was about 100. It was great to see that many more U.S. flags waving in the audience.
  • I was the information tour guide on the competition floor for the U.S. delegation attending the WSC under the German Skills Initiative. Included in the delegation were top government officials from New Jersey, Maryland and North Carolina, some college presidents and representatives of Labor. I’ve already heard back from New Jersey and Maryland wanting more information about SkillsUSA.
  • While there, I met with executives from Samsung, Autodesk, Pearson, Dermalogica, Fluke and the CEO of Lincoln Electric. All are interested in supporting SkillsUSA or increasing their support.
  • It wasn’t WorldSkills all the time either. I attended two important satellite meetings as well. One was “Tackling the Global Talent Gap” sponsored by the International Skills Standards Organization. Don Whyte, president, National Center for Construction Education and Research and a great friend of SkillsUSA was one of the speakers. (NCCER also sponsored a dinner for our team and guests on Monday during the WSC.) I also attended “Skilling the Future: VET (vocational education) and Workplace Learning for Economic Success” organized by OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The keynote speech was given by Brenda Dann-Messier, assistant secretary of the Office of Vocational and Adult Education, U.S. Department of Education. Brenda and Sharon Miller, director of Academic and Technical Education, OVAE, are the first U.S. officials to attend a WorldSkills Competition. Brenda told me she’d be covering the event in the OVAE newsletter seen in departments of education everywhere.

Largest Registration for National Conference

July 15th, 2013

The numbers are in and conference registration was the highest in SkillsUSA history with 10,146 registrants. I’m not going to go through all of the figures here, but I’m interested to see confirmed something I suspected on site: there was a 32 percent increase in the number of female contestants this year and a 34 percent increase in females attending conference overall. Given the traditional demographics of this organization and our instructional program areas, that’s an interesting shift. I also saw a lot of television coverage. It turns out I was right there too. The media report for the greater-Kansas City area this year shows 80 TV, radio, online and print stories about conference and the coverage, isn’t finished yet.

I believe the conference went very well. I’ve received lots of compliments. The state association directors appeared to be happy and so were the partners. That’s the way I like it because if they’re happy, then the students must have been served.

If you want a glimpse of the effect the national conference can have on a newcomer — who’s interested in business and STEM education — take a ride with Julie Kantor at the Huffington Post at: She’s a believer.


July 15th, 2013
  • Michael de Castro, director, GO Strategic Development with Air Products is joining the board of directors. Michael steps into the position held by Joe Pietrantonio. I know all of us appreciate Joe’s service, his business acumen, wisdom and spirit. He’s been a tremendous asset to all of us. Thanks Joe and welcome Michael.
  • We are also very pleased to welcome a new Region I representative to the Board – Dr. Dale Derrickson, state association for Delaware was elected to replace a great board member from Pennsylvania – Jerry Tylka.

Image Photos for SkillsUSA Champions Magazine

July 15th, 2013

Our magazine staff is seeking photo submissions for our “Image” page. In this contest, students and advisors can submit photos that show SkillsUSA members in action. We currently do not have a photo selected for the next issue, so please encourage members to enter. The photographer’s chapter will receive a $150 prize check and, of course, the thrill of seeing his or her work in print. For details, email Tom Hall at

2013-14 Alumni Coordinating Committee Announced

July 15th, 2013

Following the recent election, the 2013-14 SkillsUSA Alumni Coordinating Committee has been announced:

Executive Chair: Bryan Doxford, N.Y.

Region 1 Representative: Maria Bender, N.J.

Region 2 Representative: Joey Baker, Fla.

Region 3 Representative: Loree Hayden, Ill.

Region 4 Representative: Cody McPherson, Okla.

Region 5 Representative: Coleen Read, Nev.

Executive Secretary: Anne Dew, Ohio

State Association Director Liaison: Karen Ward, Mass.

Members are looking forward to working with their respective state association directors during the coming year. To contact your regional representative, go to:

Sample Press Releases, Medalist and Scoring Information

July 15th, 2013

Award ceremonyThe complete list of SkillsUSA Championships winners is now available at: For individual scores for contestants only click on Detailed Scores at: (To get these scores, you must have a contestant number and date of birth). This site also had the medalists by contest or state. Just click on “Medalists” to get this information. You can then view “All” or by the state or by the state and a specific contest. If you click on the very first box and select a year, you can see the old data from prior conferences.

Also, trade releases specific to each contest area are located at: Please feel free to use the wording from these when publicizing your students’ participation (e.g., as a delegate, Courtesy Corps member, competitor, etc.) in the NLSC.

And, a reminder that a sample press release template has also been added to SkillsUSA’s advocacy site. It’s another way to help get the word out to the media. This press release is editable by the sender and can be sent to five media outlets at a time. The site can be reached by going to: and clicking on “advocacy site.”


WLTI Reminder

July 15th, 2013

The 2013 WLTI will be held September 21-25 at the Hyatt Dulles in Herndon, VA.

A flier with more information is located online at:

Winner of the 2013 Dyna Super Glide in Custom Color Donated by Harley-Davidson

July 15th, 2013

Thanks to a generous donation by our friends at Harley-Davidson Motor Co., SkillsUSA hosted a drawing for a 2013 Dyna Super Glide® Motorcycle at the 2013 NLSC Awards Ceremony, Friday, June 28, 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 2013 Dyna Super Glide was Brandon Hall from Pickens County Career & Technology Center in Liberty, S.C. Congratulations to Brandon and a special thank you to Harley-Davidson and JB Grafix.


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