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Connecting and Engaging our Stakeholders

December 1st, 2013

We’ve recently had some good opportunities to make some important connections with groups of SkillsUSA stakeholders from across the country.

On November 4-5, I traveled to Houston, Texas and participated in a meeting with Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA) and four of our state association directors. This was one of several regional meetings IAA is holding to connect their local and regional managers with SkillsUSA in the states where they do business. We met at IAA’s Houston facility and were joined there by state directors Stacy Scott and Pat Conner (Texas), Larry Rabalais (La.) and Darren Gibson (Okla.). IAA was represented by their corporate HR director and a corporate vice president (both from their Chicago headquarters), and a branch manager and three managers from the aforementioned states. IAA became an official sponsor last year, and they are very impressed with our students. They are developing strategies to hire our students, and this meeting was a wonderful opportunity to bring our state leaders together face-to-face with the industry leaders who will be doing the hiring. IAA is working with us to plan a similar meeting on the west coast early in 2014.

Connecting on Sea Island

October 15th, 2013

On September 16-18, I participated in the Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. (IAA) Industry Leadership Summit at the Cloister Resort on Sea Island, Ga. The summit was attended by over 150 executives representing 42 automotive associations and several national insurance companies. My presentation “The Workforce for America’s Future” was extremely well received by the group and I’ve had several requests for follow-up and interest in partnership opportunities. The summit was an outstanding networking opportunity and a great chance to let more people know about the work of SkillsUSA. Russ Hoffbauer, SkillsUSA board member, who first introduced us to IAA, was also a participant at the summit.

 

Sharing our Journeys

October 15th, 2013

Following the STEM meeting, I flew to Columbus, Ohio and joined state director Mike Cowles and two of his state officers, along with Cole Fallis, national region III vice president, to prepare for a meeting on September 26 with the CEO of Safelite Group. Safelite’s corporate headquarters is in Columbus and the connection to this company was made through IAA and reinforced by State Farm Insurance. Russ Hoffbauer, board member from State Farm also flew to Columbus to be a part of the meeting. Tom Feeney, Safelite CEO and his entire corporate senior staff, hosted the meeting and provided a comprehensive overview of Safelite’s operations, culture, social responsibility agenda and leadership development process. It was a great learning experience for all of us, especially the student leaders. We then provided an overview of SkillsUSA, our programs and leadership model, including a presentation by Mike Cowles about the SkillsUSA Ohio program and a presentation by Russ Hoffbauer on why business supports SkillsUSA. However, the highlight of the day was when Haley Pickett, Tyler McComb and Cole Fallis spoke from the student’s perspective and told their personal stories about how SkillsUSA had made a positive impact on their lives. We will follow up with Safelite and I am confident that we will soon count them as a major partner, both at the national and state levels.

And, I just returned from Seoul, Korea and Louisville, Ky. I’ll elaborate on these trips next time.

SkillsUSA TECHSPO, TAG Tuesday and Champions Night

June 25th, 2013

SkillsUSA TECHSPOSkillsUSA TECHSPO opens this morning at 8 a.m. It is the largest trade show for technical education. You can find booths outside on 13th Street and North Central between Municipal Auditorium and Bartle Hall. There are also a few special SkillsUSA University sessions beginning this morning.

New this year is TAG Tuesday (Train-Act-Grow). TAG Tuesday is a series of leadership activities to be held for delegates during national conference. In the morning, there will be workshops for high school chapter leaders and high school state officers and there will be separate workshops for college/postsecondary delegates on networking with business. The afternoon will offer experiential sessions for the high school delegates and one-on-one interviews with business representatives for the college/postsecondary delegates. TAG Tuesday is sponsored by Insurance Auto Auctions and Adesa.

Tonight at the Kansas City Power and Light District will be the Champions Night activity. Note: a state/national SkillsUSA shirt is required for entry. Champions Night is sponsored by Carhartt. Also at 7 p.m. is the 100-Percent Advisors Reception at the College Basketball Experience. Sponsored by Air Products, the event is for 100-percent chapter advisors only.

Highlights

September 30th, 2012
  • On September 11, Don Hermanek and Rita Figi of IAA (Insurance Auto Auctions) came by the national office to discuss the launch of a partnership to reach out to support SkillsUSA state associations and chapters and to offer training and employment opportunities to SkillsUSA students from many training program areas. They expressed particular interest in students competing in the leadership contests. They started the meeting with the presentation of a $25,000 check. We are to get back together in early October to further develop our strategy.
  • Along similar lines, staff and I met on September 13 with NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research). They’re predicting an uptick in construction hiring and so they’re looking for ways to hire our construction graduates.
  • Thanks to Bill Maddox and Wanzel Jessie of YDF member N.E.W., we were able to take the Mega Prize winner John Lee and his wife, Samantha, to the owner’s box at a Washington Nationals baseball game September 7th and then I took them on a Segue tour of the Washington monuments on the 8th. Both John and Samantha are big baseball fans so they were just over the moon about the prize. John teaches diesel equipment technology at Tennessee Technology Center in Elizabethton. He’s also a state certified trainer, he’s had national contestants, has a national officer this year and he was a Virginia state officer many years ago.
  • And, finally, the WorldTeam had its first webinar on August 3. Most of the contestants, experts, management team and a few state association directors participated. It was an orientation for the team and to check on how we’re doing on communications and training. We met with state association directors Karen Ward and Mike Cowles on September 10 to discuss several topics including state director certification, new training structures and registration procedures and the hotel lottery at national conference among others. The staff values their input. Past national officer, national staff member and all-around good friend to SkillsUSA, Bill Prince and his wife Patty came by to visit with the national staff on September 12. Bill addressed the staff meeting on the early history of SkillsUSA and exciting moments he recalled such as the appearance of President Reagan at our national conference.

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