- SkillsUSA had an exhibit at the AACC’s Workforce Development Institute from January 30-February 2 in San Diego. The annual conference is growing in size and a lot of people stopped by the exhibit. National officer Ben Morris was a featured luncheon speaker – the only student speaker in the entire conference – and he was followed by Assistant Secretary of Education Brenda Dann-Messier who had lots of great things to say about Ben and about SkillsUSA. Current SkillsUSA board member Kathy Jo Mannes and past board member Jim McKenney were both in attendance, of course, as well as past board member Greg Rintala.
- Staff reports that UTI (Universal Technical Institute) will sponsor SkillsUSA University at national conference this year. UTI is talking about the possibility of having representatives from NASCAR attend conference as well.
- Larry Rabalais, SkillsUSA Louisiana state association director, high school (and a former SkillsUSA board member) reports that 25 students and four teachers from Bonnabel High School participated in the Super Bowl sanctioned 18th Annual Rebuilding Together event in New Orleans. Larry said the event was well-run, the students and teachers worked hard, and it was a positive experience for all concerned. Lowe’s was the “presenting sponsor.”
Thanks to our friends at IRWIN, we celebrated our SkillsUSA 100% advisors at the IRWIN Bristol Night Race in Bristol, Tenn. during the August 21 weekend. An all-expense-paid trip for Rachel Montgomery, a local SkillsUSA advisor from Idaho, was the first SkillsUSA “Mega Prize” awarded from a drawing held at NLSC in June. It was a spectacular way to recognize one of our best advisors and her husband (who just happened to be huge NASCAR fans – and Rachel’s favorite driver won all three races at Bristol that weekend). Thanks to IRWIN and YDF member Cheryl Mehrmann and board member Nick Morrisroe for their generous contribution of this Mega Prize. We’ll be exploring more ways to recognize our teachers and state directors with incentives like this one.
Peyton Sellers ran his Sellers Racing Chevrolet fully-wrapped with the SkillsUSA logo on the hood, rear deck and sides, on May 29 during the qualifying trials in the Tech-Net Auto Service 300 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. He even wore a SkillsUSA logo fire suit. Here’s more information www.skillsusa.org/supporters/peytonsellers.shtml.
SkillsUSA has recently had great exposure on the NASCAR circuit. The Peyton Sellers car ran in the Nationwide Series on April 4 with the SkillsUSA logo prominently displayed on the rear quarters. On Sunday, April 5, I had the opportunity to witness the SkillsUSA logo run on the #48 Kobalt Tough Tools for Cool Schools car and Jimmie Johnson drove to a 2nd place finish. The highlight of my trip was an interview on the SPEED CHANNEL with alumna Wendy Venturini. Wendy is from North Carolina and was SkillsUSA’s national gold medalist in 1996 in the prepared speech competition in Kansas City. You can view the interview and see how great our logo looked on the car here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWcmbcxwPas.
Peyton Sellers showed his continued commitment to SkillsUSA as the keynote speaker at the SkillsUSA Georgia opening ceremony in Atlanta on April 16. Wendy Venturini has accepted our invitation to be a part of the NLSC opening ceremony on June 23.
On Thursday, March 4, Kelly Horton and I traveled to Atlanta to join the Lowe’s Kobalt Tools Team and four-time NASCAR Champion Jimmie Johnson in an exciting event to honor our first school in the 2010 “Toolbox for Education” Kobalt Tool program. SkillsUSA students and their advisor from Jonesboro High School in Atlanta were taken on a “tool shopping spree” in the Lowe’s store by driver Jimmie Johnson, and they left the store with $1,100.00 worth of Kobalt Mechanic’s tools. Jimmie Johnson told me: “SkillsUSA is really a perfect fit for me to talk about. Your organization is doing fantastic things.”
The tool set was the first of 400 to be presented to SkillsUSA Automotive Service Technology chapters nationwide. The chapters receiving the tools are all 100% chapters that engage all students in the program as active members. All chapters have been notified of their awards, and each chapter will visit their local Lowe’s store to redeem the coupon for tools and a Lowe’s/Kobalt/SkillsUSA co-branded banner for their labs. The total value of the nationwide tool donation is $440,000.
The event, held at Lowe’s of Edgewood in Atlanta, included an overview of the tool program by Lowe’s executive Billy Sarvis, and I delivered a presentation on the SkillsUSA/Lowe’s partnership, expressed appreciation on behalf of our students nationwide and congratulated the local chapter.
Jimmie Johnson drove the Lowe’s #48 car into the doorway of the Lowe’s store and received an enthusiastic welcome from the store associates, SkillsUSA members and the general public who attended. There was lots of press on hand, and our students were featured in a spot by the Fox Network that aired Sunday at the beginning of the Kobalt Tools 500 at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
SkillsUSA Georgia State Association Director Gayle Silvey joined us in Atlanta, and she did a great job in helping to organize the event.
A video of the event is available below:
The weekend of April 4 was a big SkillsUSA NASCAR weekend in Texas. The SkillsUSA logo appeared on two cars in two races. Peyton Sellers was in the NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Texas Motor Speedway. He raced with SkillsUSA’s logo on the rear quarter panel of his car. Jimmie Johnson had the full color SkillsUSA logo on the rear deck of his Lowe’s car and the “Tough Tools for Cool Schools” logo on the full rear panel.
I also interviewed with the Speed Channel personality-and SkillsUSA alumna as well as Championships medalist-Wendy Venturini at the track. The NASCAR promotions of our sponsors and partners are definitely paying off in increased visibility for SkillsUSA, not only in print, but in television coverage as well.
For information on Jimmie Johnson and the Tough Tools for Cool Schools program, visit: www.skillsusa.org/about/toughtools.shtml. There’s additional information at: www.lowesracing.com/Team-Lowes/Jimmie-Johnson/What-Are-You-Doing-Jimmie/Tough-Tools-for-Cool-Schools.aspx.
We had a great rollout of the Tough Tools for Cool Schools campaign with Lowe’s at Lovejoy High School in Hampton, Ga. An obvious highlight was having NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson pull the #48 racecar into the Lovejoy automotive lab. In the words of instructor Price Jacobs who is a 20-year construction trades instructor at Lovejoy: “This is the greatest day of my teaching career.” Lowe’s will be presenting Kobalt tools to 515 SkillsUSA building trades programs nationwide. The estimated value of the tools is $317,000. National officer Cameron Thomas of Texas was a great speaker at the event. He spoke of the value of his teachers, CTE and SkillsUSA. Wendy Venturini, an anchor for the Speed Channel was mistress of ceremonies for the event. The nice part? Wendy is from North Carolina and a former gold medalist in Prepared Speech at SkillsUSA. She told everyone that her career had been directly influenced by her participation in SkillsUSA. Here’s a link to an ESPN video and the Lowe’s event: www.youtube.com/watch?v=qY5Q89GObP4. A big thank you to Gayle Silvey, Georgia state association director for all her work in organizing the event at Lovejoy High School and getting the students and teachers prepared for the spotlight.
We hope you watched the Speed Channel on Saturday, January 24, at 7:00 p.m. PST for the Toyota All-Star Showdown at the Irwindale Speedway. In the Jig-A-Loo USA Inc. orange #83 Chevrolet was Peyton Sellers opening the 2009 NASCAR season. Of course, at SkillsUSA we’re also excited by the fact that his car had a big SkillsUSA decal on both rear panels. Thanks go to YDF member Cindy Sutton, vice president of sales and marketing, Jig-A-Loo USA, Inc. for not only getting us on the car, but also promoting SkillsUSA in her press materials.
And, despite the heavy rain and multiple weather delays at Irwindale Speedway, Peyton Sellers and his #83 Jig-A-Loo Chevrolet proved again why they are one of the most inspiring race teams in NASCAR. Peyton Sellers led the last five laps of the race before a rough collision took him out only yards from the finish line. Impressed by Sellers performance both on and off the track, Jig-A-Loo USA, Inc. announced it will honor the SkillsUSA “Watch with Peyton and Win!” campaign by providing a full travel scholarship to the 2009 SkillsUSA National Conference in Kansas City. The SkillsUSA student and advisor who won the trip to NLSC are: Zak Wood and Vicky Carter, Hart County High School, Hartwell, Georgia. Several other SkillsUSA members also won crew shirts.
Enter today through January 23, and you can win a SkillsUSA Travel Sholarship from Jig-A-Loo by simply registering your information below and correctly guessing the number of laps that Peyton Sellers will lead in the 250 lap Toyota All Star Showdown, to be televised on the SPEED channel, driving the #83 Jig-A-Loo/SkillsUSA Chevrolet.
If Peyton wins the Toyota All Star Showdown and you guess the correct number of laps led, then you win the “Win With Peyton and Jig-A-Loo” contest.
Five entrants will be selected at random to win an autographed crew shirt from Peyton Sellers.
To register, go to the Web site here.