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.
June 15th, 2013
As we prepare for the largest national conference in SkillsUSA’s history, we have a busy staff at headquarters focused on all the details that will make it a successful conference too. There are a myriad of projects being completed from the printed programs and other materials, to the scripts, agendas, VIP schedules, reviews of equipment and facilities, packing and arrangements for transportation. I could never draw up a complete list of the tasks that have to be done. This is a time of year when I reflect that SkillsUSA is fortunate to have a staff and volunteers who have everything covered. Conference registration is at a record high of 10,002 and SkillsUSA University will offer 69 sessions. The competitors number is nearly 6,000 … 5,927 to be exact.
“TAG Tuesday” (Train-Act-Grow), 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.
Following up on another introduction from Board member Russ Hoffbauer, Enterprise Holdings, Inc. — holding several car rental companies — is supporting national officer travel to the national conference this year with a $10,000 donation and is providing 11 vehicles for use during conference.
May 15th, 2013
On April 16-17, the SkillsUSA Youth Development Foundation (YDF) met at the National Leadership Center. The meeting was very well attended and was one of the most interactive on record. The meeting started with a review of the FY14 strategic plan. Chairman Dave Camden and our Business Partnerships and Development staff then led the Foundation through a series of exercises to help SkillsUSA with strategy to move our partnerships efforts forward. Specifically, the committee broke into three working groups to address the topics of events and point of entry for new partners; fundraising for the transition to Louisville; and, partner development. Each subcommittee will be chaired by a YDF Committee member with regular meetings and reports taking place throughout the year. Every YDF member was engaged, and I believe we have a great beginning with new ideas and strategies in place for the future. Dave Camden has now retired from Toyota and this was his final YDF meeting. We are pleased and excited that Laurie Hackett of Air Products will be assuming the position of YDF chair.
April 1st, 2013
The SkillsUSA board of directors met on March 12-13 in Huntersville, N.C. The meeting was hosted by IRWIN at their corporate offices and Learning and Development Center. IRWIN kicked off the board meeting with dinner at the Peninsula Club on Lake Norman and Rich Wuerthele, president of IRWIN, spoke to the group and brought the official welcome. Six IRWIN staff members participated in the evening event, including our host and board member, Nick Mastrone and YDF member Cheryl Mehrmann.
The morning of March 13 began with an overview of the Newell Rubbermaid family of brands by Rich and an overview of the IRWIN operations and workforce awareness programs by Nick. The board then toured the Learning and Development Center and learned how product research, development and testing are performed on a variety of products. Our main tour guide, Doug Nelson, IRWIN’s senior prototype manager, told us at the beginning of the tour that he was a SkillsUSA member back when it was VICA and he is still involved assisting with SkillsUSA competitions. It’s always great to see success in former members.
The board’s business meeting was March 14 and we were pleased that Peyton Holland, N.C., college/postsecondary state association director joined us for the day. A big thank-you goes to Nick Mastrone and the entire IRWIN team for their incredible hospitality and for a high quality experience for the board and staff at their corporate offices.
March 29th, 2013
SkillsUSA is excited to announce a new partnership with Gates Corporation Education. Their “Tools for Schools” program is a great opportunity for SkillsUSA’s automotive teachers.
The purpose of the “Tools for Schools” program is to provide educators with supplemental educational materials from a global company. Gates assists many of the Original Equipment Manufacturers with their research and development and through this program new products and systems are designed and problems solved. Technology is changing so quickly that it can take years for the latest information to reach you and your students. The “Tools for Schools” program is one way Gates can ensure the latest technology and information are available to you 24/7 simply by accessing their website. Gates hopes you make their site a daily part of your learning curriculum and visit often.
The “Tools for Schools” program is made up of three components: (1) “Tools for Schools” website where all elements of the program can be found; (2) “Tools for Schools” Performance Center eLearning for your students contains a wealth of informative content and tests each student’s ability to retain and understand via an exclusive training quiz found at the end of each segment; and, (3) “Tools for Schools” “Free” tool program. A program designed to reward the school for using the eLearning tool and using Gates products. Schools can earn Gates diagnostic and installation tools by accumulating points based on program participation.
Websites for this Program
Tools for Schools Webpage for the Educator (only): www.gates.com/education
Gates Performance Center for Students: http://gatesaftermarkettrainingcenter.com
For more information, please contact: Bobby Bassett, manager, Training Automotive Aftermarket, Gates Corporation, cell 601-954-4152, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 15th, 2013
On February 26-27, I attended the Mississippi spring conference in Jackson. There were 200 more registrants this year with 1,500 attending overall. Competitions were held in several locations around town, but one of the most impressive venues was the Trademart where the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation (MCEF) administered all of the construction contests. The MCEF used the event as a centerpiece for a full-day seminar called “Pathways to Success” conducted for 130 administrators and guidance counselors from around the state. The audience heard a lot about the importance of CTE and construction careers, and I had the opportunity to tell them about SkillsUSA. State Senator Philip Moran also attended, and I received considerable interest from the regional sales manager of Makita, U.S.A.
Congratulations to Andy Sims, Mississippi state association director for a successful conference and thanks to Jean Massey, state CTE director, for her strong support of SkillsUSA.
On Thursday, February 28, I flew to St. Louis to meet with executives of Enterprise Holdings, parent company of Enterprise, Alamo and National car rental companies. This was another corporate connection made by board member Russ Hoffbauer. Russ, national officer Sergio Cavazos and I met with the head of the foundation, two vice presidents, three assistant vice presidents and a director. When the CEO met with us at one point, he said “I see you’ve got the Enterprise A team.” That was nice to hear.
Russ covered the reasons why business is involved with SkillsUSA, and Sergio did a beautiful job talking about the effect SkillsUSA has had on him, his school and his community. It was easy to see the executives were thoroughly impressed, and they said they want Enterprise to get involved as a partner at the local level and, perhaps, at national conference. They also expressed interest in our customer service competition and assessments.