Posts Tagged ‘Auto Skills’

Ginnie PritchettTop auto students from across the country compete in the 64th annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition for the national title and millions of dollars in scholarships

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 5, 2013) – One hundred of the nation’s best young automotive minds will converge on the Motor City to compete for the title of top high school technicians in the country at the 64th Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition National Finals June 9–11.  With jobs in the auto industry on the rise, up over 30 percent since last April according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills challenge serves as a springboard for students to launch their careers.

This year’s young auto champions will be crowned June 11 at Ford Motor Company’s World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. from a field that includes 48 male and two female students. The annual competition features top high school automotive technology students from all 50 states, with each state represented by a two-student team and their high school instructor. At the National Finals, the students will have their automotive skills and knowledge put to the test with a written exam and a timed event in which they race against the clock and each other to identify glitches and repair deliberately-installed “bugs” in identical 2013 Ford Explorer XLTs. The team with the best combined written and hands-on score will win the national championship.

The road to Dearborn began in January when nearly 13,000 high school juniors and seniors took an online exam testing their automotive technology knowledge, and will culminate with one team taking home the title of national champion. In addition to scholarships and prizes, this year’s national champions will earn a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to gain hands-on experience through a weeklong job shadow experience with auto racing royalty, Wood Brothers Racing’s legendary21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team and 2011 Daytona 500 Winner Trevor Bayne leading up to and during the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla. this July. For these two auto student national champions and their instructor, this extraordinary job shadow experience extends from a high-tech performance garage in North Carolina to the world-famous Daytona International Speedway. It includes the following:

  • Immersion of the winning students into the Wood Brothers Racing team as these expert auto technicians prepare for one the biggest events on the Sprint Cup Series calendar – the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 6
  • Serving as honorary pit crew members on the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion under the guidance of Crew Chief Donnie Wingo
  • Mentoring by No. 21 driver Trevor Bayne at both the Wood Brothers Racing shop in Harrisburg, North Carolina and also trackside at Daytona

“Each week, me and the other drivers get all the attention on the track,” said Bayne, “But really, we couldn’t even get out there and run without our crew.  These guys I work with are the best in the business.  It’s pretty amazing what they do and how they work all week long to keep that No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane car in top condition for me.

“The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition is a great opportunity for thousands of students across the country who really love working on cars and want to get into the industry.  I’m pretty excited to see these National Champions because really, this will help them see they may be young but they can work on the world’s best cars themselves. And hey, who knows, I could end up seeing these students on our pit crew one day!”

Founded in 1950, Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team in NASCAR. The Wood Brothers have won 14 Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway, more than any other team in the sport. The Wood Brothers’ most recent trip to victory lane came at the 2011 Daytona 500, when then 20-year-old  Bayne become the youngest driver ever to win NASCAR’s most prestigious race.

As cars continue to become more advanced, Ford is leading the way with new technologies such as all-electric vehicles, adaptive cruise control, collision warning with brake assist, hands-free entertainment and communication systems. Understanding the mechanics behind these technologies is essential to the future of the automotive industry, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills challenge focuses on technological practices, while educating the next generation of technicians in traditional mechanical principles so they will be able to understand and on new vehicles.

Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills enables many of its participants to embark on promising careers in the automotive repair industry to help fuel the rising demand for well-trained technicians that can repair both computer and mechanical components in today’s advanced vehicles.  Both the national and the state-wide competitions are organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country. The competition awards nearly $12 million in scholarships to thousands of high school auto students each year, including the national title winners, allowing them to further their education in this rapidly changing industry.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers nearly $12 million in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  More than 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit http://autoskills.aaa.com/.

About Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company, a global automotive industry leader based in Dearborn, Mich., manufactures or distributes automobiles across six continents. With about 175,000 employees and 65 plants worldwide, the company’s automotive brands include Ford and Lincoln. The company provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company. For more information regarding Ford and its products worldwide, please visit http://corporate.ford.com.

Ginnie PritchettHigh school students across America compete for the opportunity to represent their state in the 64th Annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Challenge

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 2, 2013) – The nation’s best young automotive minds  from coast-to-coast are gearing up for the 2013 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Challenge State Hands-On competitions, which kick off Tuesday, April 16 with an event in Jackson, Miss.

Competitions continue across the country through May 14, with the top team from each state advancing to the national finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan June 9 – 11. At the national finals, champions from all 50 states will compete against one another for the right to call themselves the top young auto technicians in America and take home millions of dollars in scholarships.

Below are the dates and locations of all 50 2013 FORD AAA State Hands-On Competitions:

Jackson, Miss.  – Tuesday, April 16

Birmingham, Ala. – Tuesday, April 17

Lexington, Ky. – Wednesday, April 17

Alexandria, La. – Thursday, April 18

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Thursday, April 18

Sanford, Fla. – Friday, April 19

Pearl City, Hawaii – Saturday, April 20

Warren, Mich. – Wednesday, April 24

Warminster, Pa. – Wednesday, April 24

Milford, Neb. – Thursday, April 25

Okmulgee, Okla. – Thursday, April 25

Anchorage, Alaska – Friday, April 26

Little Rock, Ark. – Friday, April 26

Atlanta, Ga. – Friday, April 26

Indianapolis, Ind. – Friday, April 26

La Porte, Texas – Friday, April, 26

Baltimore, Md. – Saturday, April 27

Brooklyn Park, Minn. – Wednesday, May 1

Atco, N.J. – Wednesday, May 1

Bridgeport, W.Va. – Wednesday, May 1

Helena, Mont. – Thursday, May 2

Nashville, Tenn. – Thursday, May 2

Sandy, Utah – Thursday, May 2

Warwick, R.I. – Thursday, May 2

Cheyenne, Wyo. – Thursday, May 2

Glendale, Ariz. – Friday, May 3

Danville, Calif. – Friday, May 3

Pomona, Calif. – Friday, May 3

Nampa, Idaho – Friday, May 3

Charlotte, N.C./S.C. – Saturday, May 4

Albuquerque, N.M. – Saturday, May 4

Virginia Beach, Va. – Saturday, May 4

Renton, Wash. – Tuesday, May 7

Ankeny, Iowa – Tuesday, May 7

Dover, Del. – Wednesday, May 8

Norwood, Mass. – Wednesday, May 8

Mequon, Wis. – Wednesday, May 8

North Haven, Conn. – Thursday, May 9

Sparks, Nev. – Thursday, May 9

Fargo, N.D. – Thursday, May 9

Kansas City, Mo./Kan. – Thursday, May 9

Toledo, Ohio – Friday, May 10

Champaign, Ill. – Friday, May 10

Gresham, Ore. – Friday, May 10

Denver, Colo. – Saturday, May 11

Epping, N.H./Maine/Vt. – Saturday, May 11

Morrisville, N.Y. – Tuesday, May 14

At the State Hands-On Competition, teams will race against the clock to correctly diagnose and repair a deliberately “bugged” 2013 Ford Focus SE. A combination of the online written exam and hands-on competition scores determine each state’s championship team that will compete in the national finals. For additional details on 2013 State Hands-On Competition locations and dates, visit Autoskills.AAA.com.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition is open to 11th and 12th grade students in secondary schools and colleges across the country that offer courses in automotive technology. Schools may enter one two-student team per instructor. Teams competing in the State Hands-On Competitions represent the 10 teams that scored highest on a statewide online written exam, administered at the beginning of the competition in January.

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition enables many of its participants to embark on promising careers in the automotive repair industry to help fuel the rising demand for well-trained technicians that can repair both computer and mechanical components in today’s advanced vehicles.  Both the national and the state-wide competitions are organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a free public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers millions in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  More than 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit http://autoskills.aaa.com/.

63rd annual auto technology showdown matches top high school student teams from all 50 states; nearly $12 million in scholarships is awarded to help refuel auto industry’s next generation of talent

ErinSteppDEARBORN, Mich. (June 12, 2012) – In a face-to-face showdown of top student teams from all 50 states, the Kansas  team triumphed over the field to become known as the nation’s brightest young auto technology minds, as the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills concluded its 63rd year in thrilling fashion.

Taking the crown as the “best of the best” was the two-student team from Newton, KS consisting of Bryce Banks and Jedediah Redger, as their Newton High School team recorded the day’s top score under the tutelage of instructor Cory Unruh.

Additional Resources

With nearly $12 million dollars in scholarship prizes in the balance, state winners gathered today at the Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn to solve “real world” automotive challenges – both digital and mechanical – in a timed competition that required a quick mind and steady hands as top auto students worked with wrenches and computers alike.   The finish topped off a banner year for the competition, which set several milestones in 2012, including a record number of students, instructors and schools participating, as well as the highest number of female competitors in event history.

Beginning with a shotgun start, the student competitors (all paired in two-person teams) raced to their vehicles to review a work order that challenged them to diagnose and repair a number of purposefully placed “bugs” ranging from digital to mechanical and electrical. Once the repairs were completed, it was a race to shut the hood, fire up the engine and steer the vehicle across the finish line – where a scrutinizing judging team awaited.

To earn the National Title, Newton High School earned a “perfect car” score by flawlessly repairing all the “bugs” without any demerits. Combined with the results of an examination taken the day before, their score allowed them to hoist the trophy as national champions.

The top-10 teams in the 2012 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals were:

[LISTED FROM #1-10, as such]

1 Kansas: (Bryce Banks and Jedediah Redger), Newton High School, Newton KS, Instructor Cory Unruh

2 Michigan: (Evan Fischbach and Thomas Michaluk) Saline High School, Saline, MI Instructor Timothy Timoszyk

3 Illinois: (Ryan Orlando and Mark O’Hara), Willowbrook High School, Villa Park, IL Instructor Christopher Feid

4 Utah: (Jordan Kearns and Chandler Adkins), Riverton High School, Riverton, UT, Instructor Jay Hales

5 Oklahoma: (Alexander Versteeg and Connor Hixenbaugh), Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center, Choctaw, OK, Instructor Jimmy Lafevers

6 Mississippi: (Daniel Williams and Hayden Beard), Clinton Vocational Center, Clinton, MS, Instructor Charlie Melton

7 New Mexico: (Konnor Davis and James Primmer), Career Enrichment Center, Albuquerque, NM, Instructor Mark Mulroy

8 Missouri: (Aaron Findling and Shelby Middleton), Moberly Area Technology Center, Moberly, MO, Instructor Charles Magruder

9 New Hampshire: (Ben Noonan and Devon Wade), Mascenic Automotive Career Center, New Ipswich, NH, Instructor Vincent Fittante

10 Arizona: (Eric Stover and David Mora), Centennial High School, Peoria, AZ Instructor, Stephen Maish

In addition to scholarships, the National Champion Kansas team will enjoy an immersive, weeklong job shadow experience with 2011 Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and his Wood Brothers Racing team, as they prepare the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion car for the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla. – the famous site of Bayne’s spectacular win at age 20.

“For today’s automotive technicians, being able to diagnose and repair a computer-related malfunction is just as critical as fixing mechanical failures,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA National Vice President, Automotive, Financial Services and e-Business. “As a generation that has grown up with digital technology, this year’s students are uniquely qualified to lead the auto industry forward in this country and you saw their brilliance on display today in a high-octane atmosphere matching the nation’s best talent from coast-to-coast.”

“The automotive technicians of tomorrow must be well-educated and highly-skilled to meet the current and future technological advances in automotive technology,” said Steve DeAngelis, Ford’s Global Manager of Technical Support Operations. “The people at Ford are committed to training and retaining the best technicians in the industry, which is why we are so proud of our continued involvement in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, which invests in our highly-skilled technicians of tomorrow.”

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers nearly $12 million in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  More than 13,000 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit http://autoskills.aaa.com/.

 

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Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills participants to compete in National Finals; Champs will receive hands-on experience with NASCAR’s longest-tenured team

ORLANDO, Fla., (June 6, 2012) –  One hundred of the nation’s best young automotive technicians will compete in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition National Finals June 10–12, with the championship student team earning a weeklong job shadow experience with auto racing royalty – former Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne and his Wood Brothers Racing team.

Working underneath of the hood of the Daytona 500 champion’s car isn’t the only benefit coming their way: the famed Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, now in its 63rd year, awards nearly $12 million in scholarships to thousands of high school auto students each year, including the national title winners.

This year’s young auto kings will be crowned June 12 at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. The annual competition features top high school automotive technology students from all 50 states, with each state represented by a two-student team and their high school instructor. At the National Finals, the students will have their automotive skills and knowledge put to the test with a written exam and a timed event in which they will race against the clock and each other to identify glitches and repair deliberately-installed “bugs” in identical 2012 Ford Fiestas. The team with the best combined written and hands-on score will win the national championship.

The road to Dearborn began in February when nearly 13,000 high school juniors and seniors took an online exam testing their automotive technology knowledge. The 2012 edition of the Ford/Auto Skills Competition has already set several milestones, including a record number of students, instructors and schools participating, as well as the highest number of female competitors in event history.

For the national title winners, shadowing Wood Brothers Racing’s legendary 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion team leading up to and during the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona Beach, Fla. will be particularly significant – it’s the site of Trevor Bayne’s spectacular burst into racing stardom when he won the 2011 Daytona 500 at the age of 20. For these two auto student national champions and their instructor, this extraordinary job shadow experience extends from a high-tech performance garage in North Carolina to the world-famous Daytona International Speedway. It promises the following:

  • Immersion of the winning students into the Wood Brothers Racing team as these expert auto technicians prepare for one the biggest events on the Sprint Cup Series calendar – the Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 7
  • Serving as honorary pit crew members on the No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Ford Fusion under the guidance of Crew Chief Donnie Wingo
  • Mentoring by No. 21 driver Trevor Bayne at both the Wood Brothers Racing shop in Harrisburg, North Carolina and also trackside at Daytona

“I was twenty years old when my wildest dreams came true in Victory Lane at last year’s Daytona 500,” said Bayne. “By shadowing me and Wood Brothers Racing as we prepare to race again at Daytona, I want the national winners of the 2012 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition to see that their dreams are obtainable as they work on the world’s best cars.”

Founded in 1950, Wood Brothers Racing is the oldest active team in NASCAR. The Wood Brothers have won 14 Sprint Cup Series races at Daytona International Speedway, more than any other team in the sport. The Wood Brothers’ most recent trip to victory lane came at the 2011 Daytona 500, when then 20-year-old  Bayne become the youngest driver ever to win NASCAR’s most prestigious race.

Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills enables many of its participants to embark on promising careers in the automotive repair industry to help fuel the rising demand for well-trained technicians that can repair both computer and mechanical components in today’s advanced vehicles.  Both the national and the state-wide competitions are organized with the support of AAA and Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and the AAA Approved Auto Repair program, a free public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

The Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition that offers nearly $12 million in scholarships and prizes to high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians.  More than 12,500 students from across the U.S. compete for the chance to represent their school and state in the National Finals. The competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities. For additional information on the competition, visit http://autoskills.aaa.com/.

DEARBORN, MI., June 14, 2011

Earn Thousands in Scholarships and Title of Nation’s Best Student Auto Technicians”

Christie HydeThe two-person team of Matthew Saunders and Drew Torrey from Vale High School in Vale, Ore., earned the title of “America’s Best Student Auto Technicians,” as national champions of the 62nd annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, held today at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich. The competition, which offers nearly $12 million in scholarships to its competitors, gives the nation’s best high school automotive technology students the opportunity to showcase their automotive problem-solving capabilities by resolving “real world” repair challenges in a timed, head-to-head match-up of top teams representing each of the 50 states.

Additional Resources

Vale High School is no stranger to the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition. Instructor Merle Saunders (no relation to Matthew), who just retired at the end of the school year, has led students to the National Finals 24 times and took home the championship trophy today for his fifth time, more than any other automotive technology instructor. His first national win was in 1992, and one of the students who earned the title was Matthew Saunders’ older brother Greg.

About the competition

  • At the National Finals, teams from all 50 states had their automotive skills and knowledge put to the test with a 100-question written exam and a timed event in which they raced against the clock and each other to identify glitches and repair 14 deliberately installed “bugs” in identical 2011 Ford F-150 XLT trucks.
  • The bugs ranged from a “no start” situation to a broken horn and hood latch.
  • The team from Oregon won the national championship by earning the competition’s best combined written and hands-on score.
  • The Oregon team earned a “perfect truck” score by flawlessly repairing all 14 “bugs” without any demerits for poor workmanship. The team hoisted the championship trophy after shutting the hood of their “perfect truck” at 58 minutes and six seconds.

About the top-10 winning teams (in rank order)

The 10 teams received full and partial scholarships from some of the leading automotive technology institutions in the country, including Lincoln College of Technology, Universal Technical Institute, University of Northwestern Ohio, Ohio Technical College and WyoTech.

  1. Oregon: Matthew Saunders and Drew Torrey, Vale High School, Vale, Ore., Instructor Merle Saunders
  2. Hawaii: Jimbo Paranada and Marc Paguirigan, Maui High School, Kahului, Hawaii, Instructor Shannon Rowe
  3. Minnesota: Kyle McDonough and Micah Solem, Faribault High School, Faribault, Minn., Instructor Mark Lessman
  4. Kansas: John Munger and Felix Torres, Newton High School, Newton, Kan., Instructor Robert Ziegler
  5. Arizona: Cody La Pedus and Wayne Siddle, Flowing Wells High School, Tucson, Ariz., Instructor Jerrad McMurrich
  6. Alabama: Christopher Breeden and Patrick Proffitt, Winfield City High School, Winfield, Ala., Instructor Mike Henderson
  7. Wisconsin: Mitchell Sommerfeldt and Ryan Stauske, Grafton High School, Grafton, Wis., Instructor Carl Hader
  8. Louisiana: Casey Higginbotham and Mitchell Odom, Livingston Parish Literacy & Technology Center, Walker, La., Instructor Van Guarino
  9. California: Samuel Castenholz and Michael Mullen, San Luis Obispo High School, San Luis Obispo, Calif., Instructor Jeffrey Lehmkuhl
  10. Michigan: Connor Jennings and Derek Reyst, Saline High School, Saline, Mich., Instructor Timothy Timoszyk

In addition to thousands of dollars in scholarships, the winning team will job shadow Roush Fenway Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series No. 6 Ford team leading up to and during the Subway Jalapeño 250 on July 1 at Daytona International Speedway. The students also will have the opportunity to interact at-track with the car’s driver and 2010 Nationwide Series Rookie of the year, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who is serving as the national spokesperson for the Ford/AAA Auto Skills program this year.

Quotes

“In an economy in which drivers are looking to extend the lives of their cars through maintenance and repair, the need for skilled automotive technicians continues to be strong. We saw 100 of the very best and brightest young automotive technicians in action today. For more than six decades, the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition has helped fund advanced automotive education for promising students and continues to prepare these future professionals for careers in the automotive industry,” said Marshall L. Doney, AAA Vice President, Automotive.

“The automotive technicians of tomorrow must be well-educated and highly-skilled to meet the current and future technological advances in automotive technology,” said Steve DeAngelis, Ford’s Global Manager of Technical Support Operations. “The people at Ford are committed to training and retaining the best technicians in the industry, which is why we are so proud of our continued involvement in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, which invests in our highly-skilled technicians of tomorrow.”

A pool of nearly 10,000 junior and senior automotive technology students started the journey to the National Finals with an online exam in March. The highest-scorers advanced to their states’ hands-on competition, with the top teams from each state competing in the National Finals.

Orlando, Fl – 6/10/2011


AAA and Roush Fenway Racing today announced that the winning pair of high school automotive technology students from the 2011 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals will receive a dream learning experience—a week behind the scenes with the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Nationwide Series team of Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Additional Resources

The job shadow will begin June 27 at the Roush Fenway Racing facility in Concord, N.C., where the Nationwide Series No. 6 Ford team will open up its race shop to the winning students to give them an in-depth look at auto technicians in the fast-paced world of NASCAR, as the team prepares for the upcoming Subway Jalapeno 250 at Daytona International Speedway on July 1.

The students and their instructor will then travel to Daytona, where they will serve as honorary pit crew members during the NASCAR race weekend. The students also will have the opportunity to interact at-track with 2010 Nationwide Series Rookie of the Year, Stenhouse, Jr., who is serving as the national spokesperson for the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills program.

“There’s no way I could compete without the work of an amazing race team to make sure my car is in peak condition,” said Stenhouse, Jr. “I’m excited to be part of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition and support these talented automotive technology students who may just be our future NASCAR automotive technicians.”

The once-in-a-lifetime job shadow is one of the grand prizes for the two-person team of high school students that wins the 62nd Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals. The winning students will earn this prize after beating out teams from all 50 states in a written exam and timed event in which they raced against the clock and each other to identify glitches and repair deliberately installed “bugs” in a 2011 Ford F-150 XLT 4×4 truck.

“The thousands of young, aspiring automotive technicians who devote such time and energy into preparing for this competition are truly the future of the automotive industry,” said Roush Fenway Racing Team Owner Jack Roush. “That’s why Roush Fenway Racing is proud to join with Ford and AAA for a fourth year to encourage more students to consider careers in automotive technology and to give two lucky students the chance to learn from some of the best technicians in the industry.”

Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is the nation’s largest competition for high school automotive technology students, giving thousands of teens the keys to start their careers in the automotive service industry by offering nearly $12 million in automotive scholarships at both the state and national level. A pool of more than 10,000 junior and senior automotive technology students started the journey to the National Finals with an online exam in March. The highest scorers advanced to their states’ hands-on competition, with the top team from each state competing in the National Finals at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Mich., June 12-14.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills (www.AutoSkills.com)

Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians. In its 62nd year, the competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities with a written test as well as a race against the clock to diagnose and properly repair intentionally “bugged” vehicles. Ford and AAA are dedicated to the competition as part of their commitment to the future of automotive service in America.

Dearborn, MI – 6/7/2011

High school automotive technology students converge on Michigan for 62nd annual National Finals  

One hundred high school automotive technology students from across the country will tune up cars in hopes of tuning out the competition at the National Finals of the 62nd annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition, which take place June 12-14 at Ford World Headquarters in Michigan. The students will be vying for a share of nearly $12 million in scholarships and a job shadow experience with one of Roush Fenway Racing’s NASCAR teams.

Additional Resources

The competition, which is geared toward students looking to jumpstart their careers in the automotive industry, is especially relevant for today’s struggling economy, as car owners are putting more money into repair and maintenance as a way of avoiding the big-ticket purchase of a new car. The U.S. Department of Labor reports that this trend, as well as advancements in automotive technology, means an increase in the demand for repair work and a rise in job opportunities for those automotive technicians who complete postsecondary education—something the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition helps its competitors pursue by offering millions of dollars in scholarships.

The annual competition features the top high school automotive technology students from all 50 states, with each state represented by a team of two students joined by their high school instructor. At the National Finals, the students will have their automotive skills and knowledge put to the test with a written exam and a timed event in which they will race against the clock and each other to identify glitches and repair deliberately installed “bugs” in identical 2011 Ford F-150 XLT 4×4 trucks. The team with the best combined written and hands-on score will win the national championship.

In addition to the scholarships, the winning students will get the opportunity to spend a week job shadowing Roush Fenway Racing’s NASCAR Nationwide Series No. 6 Ford team leading up to and during the Subway Jalapeno 250 on July 1 at Daytona International Speedway. Students also will have the opportunity to interact at-track with the car’s driver and 2010 Nationwide Series Rookie of the year, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who is serving as the national spokesperson for the Ford/AAA Auto Skills program this year.

A pool of more than 10,000 automotive technology students started the journey to the National Finals by taking an online exam in March. The 100 national finalists, who have spent countless hours preparing for the competition, reached the championship through a high score in the online exam and success at the hands-on competitions at their respective State Finals. Though each team has proven it has the drive and automotive knowledge needed for success, the students come from a variety of backgrounds and have taken several different paths in pursuit of their dreams. Some of the personal storylines include:

A strong support system helps Mississippi student beat the odds to compete

For team member Eric Vong of Clinton High School Career Complex in Clinton, Miss., just reaching the Mississippi State Finals was truly a win in itself. Vong, who suffer from a rare blood disorder, was unsure if he would be able to compete at all, but through the support of his instructor and his teammate, he made it to the state championship. Teammate Chase Mitchell also had his own strong support system in stepfather Razi, an immigrant and automotive shop owner, who plans to pass down the shop to his son.

A little ingenuity, and even less sleep, propelled Tucson school to the National Finals

Winning the Arizona State Finals was truly a milestone for Flowing Wells High School, which has never captured the title before. Unable to secure a Ford Mustang on which to practice, the team jumped at the chance to learn the ins and outs once they arrived at the State Finals. Staying up until 1:00 a.m., the boys used the few tools available to take apart the display car and gain additional hands-on knowledge of its inner workings. Fortunately, this commitment paid off and they were able to drive home the victory.

Florida students are looking for a championship title at the National Finals

2011 is the first year Merritt Island High School has nabbed the title of Florida State Champions. Team member Sam McLean, who had open heart surgery as a baby and today wears a pacemaker, described the state finals as his “Super Bowl.” Sam, along with teammate Johnny White III, is looking forward to the National Finals in Michigan, which will mark the first time either student has flown in a plane—something of an irony, considering both boys have parents that work in the space industry at Cape Canaveral. It will be an exciting set of firsts for the entire team.

The Georgia team has heritage on its side

The team from Thomson High School in Thomson, Ga., has a rich history with the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition and the automotive industry. Instructor Jason Brooks was a student competitor in the 1998 competition; his team came in fifth place at the National Finals. Additionally, his students, Chevy Phillips and Dakota Aldred, grew up in the industry, as both their fathers are automotive technicians. This experience and background knowledge will likely serve them well at this year’s National Finals.

In Missouri, competing in the National Finals is a father-son legacy

It’s all in the family for Dwight Nieboff and Brenten McManis from Lamar Area Vocational Technical School in Lamar, Mo. Both students’ fathers were Auto Skills Missouri State champions when they were in high school—and McManis’ father even placed in the top ten at the national championship. Nieboff and McManis had some great role models, but they also have some big shoes to fill.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians. In its 62nd year, the competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities with a written test as well as a race against the clock to diagnose and properly repair intentionally “bugged” vehicles. Ford and AAA are dedicated to the competition as part of their commitment to the future of automotive service in America. For information on competing in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills, visit AutoSkills.com.

DEARBORN, MICHIGAN,  – June 15, 2010

61st annual auto repair showdown pitted top high school teams from all 50 states, awarded $11.5 million in scholarships

Christie HydeIn a face-off between the nation’s top high school automotive technology students, the two-person team from Valley City, N.D., emerged as the “best of the best” at the 61st annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals held today on the front lawn at Ford World Headquarters. The competition gives auto tech students the opportunity to showcase their automotive problem-solving capabilities by resolving “real world” repair challenges in a timed, head-to-head match-up of top teams representing all 50 states.

Jonathan Anderson, 18, and McKenzie Nordland, 17, from Sheyenne Valley Area Career & Technology Center bested the elite field of teams representing each state, as they recorded the day’s top score under the tutelage of instructor James McFagden.

Following a shotgun start, all teams raced to repair their assigned vehicle. Each two-student team used their collective top-level knowledge and workmanship to diagnose and properly repair “bugs”—purposefully placed mechanical and electrical problems within the vehicle. Teams that effectively repaired all of the planted “bugs” could shut the hood, start the engine and steer their vehicle through the finish line—where a judging team awaited to scrutinize their work.

Teams were tasked with diagnosing and repairing twelve “bugs” (which ranged from blown horn fuse, wiper switch malfunction and burnt out brake bulbs). North Dakota was the lone school to earn a “perfect car” score by flawlessly repairing all dozen “bugs” without any demerits for poor workmanship. To earn the National Title, the time it took to repair the vehicle was combined with the results of a 100-question written exam the students took the previous day. North Dakota hoisted the championship trophy after shutting the hood of their “perfect car” at 61 minutes and 30 seconds.

This year’s competition awarded a record-high $11.5 million in scholarships to the participants, which was comprised of more than 10,500 juniors and seniors. In March, following an online exam, the highest-scorers advanced to their states’ hands-on competition, with the top teams from each state competing in the National Finals.

In addition to the scholarships, in July, the winning students will job shadow the No. 16 Roush Fenway Racing Con-way Freight race team leading up to the NASCAR race at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. While there, the students will get at-track tutoring by Larry McReynolds, one of the sport’s most recognized crew chiefs and this year’s national spokesperson for the Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition.

Texas finished as the runner-up, followed by schools from Connecticut, South Carolina and Oregon that rounded out the top 5. (See below for a complete listing of the top-10 finishing order).

“Technology advances in today’s automobiles demands that our country is stocked with the next generation of auto professionals that are as technically savvy as they are mechanically inclined. We saw 100 of the very best and brightest automotive technicians on display today,” said John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Repair and Buying Services. “From coast to coast, each state has some immensely talented students that showed their skill and expertise in a time-crunched, competitive environment that brought out their very best.”

At the National Finals, the top-10 teams received additional full and partial scholarships from some of the leading automotive technology institutions in the country, including Lincoln College of Technology, Universal Technical Institute, University of Northwestern Ohio, Ohio Technical College and WyoTech.

“As Ford vehicles of today continue to increase in technology and advanced features, auto technicians must be well-educated and highly-skilled to meet these increasing advancements,” said Frederiek Toney, Vice President of Ford’s Customer Service Division. “Ford is committed to training and retaining the best technicians in the industry and we are very proud of our continued involvement in this valuable competition, which is investing in our highly-skilled technicians of tomorrow.”

The Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition began in 1949 when Harry Truman was in office. This year, AAA marks its 26th year with the competition, serving as a co-sponsor since 1984. Ford Motor Company celebrates its 16th year involved in the competition.

The top-10 teams in the 2010 Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals were:

1 North Dakota (Jonathan Anderson and McKenzie Nordland) Sheyenne Valley Area & Technology Center, Valley City, N.D., Instructor James McFagden

2 Texas (Ian Dunaway and Jesse Hackfield) Birdville Center of Technology & Advanced Learning, North Richland Hills, Texas, Instructor Olin Harrington

3 Connecticut (Jordan Boots and Conner McCreery) Platt Technical High School, Milford, Conn., Instructor Kirk Stankiewicz

4 South Carolina (Adam Hale and Taylor Wise) B.J. Skelton Career Center, Easley, S.C., Instructor Phillip Smith

5 Oregon (Steven Tolman and Nathan Maupin) Vale High School, Vale, Ore., Instructor Merle Sanders

6 Kansas (Ernest Sharp and Ian Clark) Newton High School, Newton, Kan., Instructor Cory Unruh

7 Rhode Island (Richard Wilkins and Patrick Hickey) Warwick Area Career and Technical Center, Warwick, R.I., Instructor David Tibbetts

8 Washington (Richard Harvey and Benjamin Quesnell) Tri-Tech Skills Center, Kennewick, Wash., Instructor Larry Brookes

9 Hawaii (Bryson Higa and Lewis Drapete) Maui High School, Kahului, Hawaii, Instructor Shannon Rowe

10 Michigan (Andrew Michaluk and Ryan Hastings) Saline High School, Saline, Mich., Instructor Tim Timoszyk

Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians. This year marks the 61st anniversary of the competition that tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities with a written test as well as a race against the clock to diagnose and properly repair intentionally “bugged” vehicles. Ford and AAA are dedicated to the competition as part of their commitment to the future of automotive service in America. For information on competing in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills, visit AutoSkills.com.

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DEARBORN, MICHIGAN, June 9, 2010

Elite high school automotive students converge on Michigan for 61st annual National Finals

Christie HydeWith the economy still facing challenging times, one sector that continues to show signs of increased productivity is automotive maintenance and technology. And, as vehicles of today continue to increase in complexity with advanced technologies, auto technicians must be well-educated and highly-skilled to meet these increasing advancements in the auto industry.

Enthusiastically waiting in the wings to meet that increased demand head-on are the nation’s future young automobile technicians, who will showcase their acumen and talent at the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills National Finals in Dearborn, Mich., June 13-15. A timed, head-to-head skills showdown, the competition gives top automotive students from all 50 states the opportunity to demonstrate their automotive knowledge and problem-solving capabilities by resolving “real world” repair challenges.

The 61st annual competition features top high school automotive technology students from across the country with each state represented by a team of two students and their high school instructor. Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills enables many of its participants to embark on promising careers in the automotive repair industry with a record-high $11.5 million in scholarships offered this year and promising employment opportunities following completion of their education or technical training.

In addition to the scholarships, in July the winning students will job shadow the Roush Fenway Racing No. 16 Con-way Freight team leading up to and during the Kroger 200, benefiting Riley Hospital for Children NASCAR race at O’Reilly Raceway Park in Indianapolis. Students also will have the opportunity to interact at-track with one of racing’s most successful and recognized crew chiefs, Larry McReynolds, who is serving as the national spokesperson for the Ford/AAA Auto Skills program this year.

Beyond the prizes and scholarships, this “best of the best” competition represents the final face-off and will bring together the best 100 automotive technology students in the country that have spent countless hours of class time and extra preparation in pursuit of the national championship. Narrowed down from the 10,500 students that started the competition back in March, the national finalists represent a variety of backgrounds and have taken several different paths in pursuit of their dreams. Some of the personal storylines include:

  • Beating the odds: Daniel Sarzynski overcame brain cancer at the age of 7, and now the 17-year old Baltimore resident has come full circle fresh off winning the Maryland state championship with teammate Ernest Kuehne, 17, representing Eastern Technical High School.
  • Home state karma: The host state of Michigan has not claimed the national champion in 40 years, and veteran instructor Tim Timoszyk will be making his fifth National Finals appearance. State champions Ryan Hastings and Andrew Michaluk hope to lean on recent success—Hastings’ brother, Zachary, finished second in 2007—and a home-field advantage (the duo represents Saline High School, a suburb of Ann Arbor)—to tip the scales in their favor.
  • High(est) honors, madam: Sydne Mikesell, 17, had tough shoes to fill in her family following in the footsteps of brother, Taylor, who advanced to the 2009 National Finals. Very much the automotive neophyte when she first entered the program, Mikesell quickly fell in love with working on cars and turned that passion and energy into registering the nation’s top score en route to capturing the Idaho state crown alongside teammate Edwardo Luna, 17, representing Blackfoot High School in Idaho Falls.
  • Paying it forward: Instructor Josh Arl takes his role to heart, not only for the hands-on knowledge he has passed on to his students, but also the life lessons learned. Nearly a decade earlier, Arl captured the state title (2001), while dealing with plenty of adversity along the way, including becoming a father at the end of his junior year of high school. But, with the state title in his pocket, it helped open some doors, eventually owning and selling his own business. With his wife expecting their latest child close to the Nationals, Brian Moore, a substitute instructor, will step in and lead Missouri state champions Troy Chastain and Michael Stake, both 19, representing Lebanon Technology & Career Center.
  • Proven track record: Veteran instructor Merle Saunders has enjoyed a long history of success at the state and national level during three decades of guiding his students. In 23 trips to the National Finals, Saunders’ teams have captured four National Championships (1992, 1997, 1998 and 2005) while finishing as the runner-up three other times. This year’s duo is Steven Tolman and Nathan Maupin of Vale (Ore.) High School. The 19-year olds will look to utilize their instructor’s experience and confidence, along with their knowledge, to perform their best.
  • Ford meets military: Kelsey Barnes, 19, had zero automotive experience before she started in the program two years ago, but it didn’t stop her from quickly achieving much success culminating with an Alabama state crown with teammate Todd Hood. She will utilize her scholarship to continue her automotive education in-state at Lawson Community College with career aspirations of working for Ford Motor Company. Hood’s career path—the U.S. Army—was temporarily delayed when his recruiter found out that the 18-year old’s reporting date to Ft. Benning, Ga., coincided with the National Finals. It was then moved to August to allow Hood to vie for the national title before joining the Army. The team represents Haleyville Center of Technology outside of Birmingham.

This year marks the 26th year that AAA has been involved with the competition, serving as a co-sponsor since 1984, while Ford Motor Company celebrates its 16th year.Nearly 10,500 high school juniors and seniors competed in this year’s competition. Following an online exam, the highest-scorers advanced to their states’ hands-on competition, with the top teams from each state advancing to the National Finals.

At the National Finals, teams representing each state will have their automotive knowledge tested with a 100-question written exam followed by a hands-on competition on the front lawn of Ford World Headquarters. The scores from both will be combined to crown the 2010 national champion.

About Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills

Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills is a nationwide automotive technology competition for high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers as automotive service technicians. It its 61st year, the competition tests students’ automotive knowledge, workmanship and problem-solving abilities with a written test as well as a race against the clock to diagnose and properly repair intentionally “bugged” vehicles. Ford and AAA are dedicated to the competition as part of their commitment to the future of automotive service in America. For information on competing in the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills, visit AutoSkills.com.

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