After qualifying on a rigorous written examination, and scoring highest on a hands on competition to find bugs placed in vehicles by a team of test proctors, two students from Clarion County are heading off to New York City to represent the Pittsburgh area in the National Automotive Technology Competition this month.
Auto tech students Rodney Jones and Nathan Johnson and their instructor Brent Johnson of the Clarion County Career Center will compete against other top auto tech teams from around the country as a part of the competition that takes place on April 22 and 23 during the New York International Auto Show.
They will be pitted against automotive tech teams from across the country in a test of skill, a measure of knowledge, and a race against the clock – all rolled into one. It features hundreds of the nation's best high school automotive education students from across the country, competing for the title of The Nation’s Best High School Automotive Technician.
“In addition to representing the Greater Pittsburgh area at the Nationals, we also gave each of these students a scholarship for a $2,500 scholarship to further their education,” says John Putzier, CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh Automobile Dealers Association, which sponsored the contest. “If they choose to attend the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), which offers an excellent automotive tech program, they will get an additional $1,000 scholarship from them as well.
“I’d really like to thank Karl Watson and his team at CCAC. We supported the competition, but CCAC really did all the legwork. They brought in the vehicles, they placed the bugs and they developed all the tests. They really did a great job.”
Jones and Johnson scored highest on the hands-on portion of the competition, which took place on March 12, beating out two other finalist teams from Central Westmoreland Career and Technology Center who placed second and third. The finalists had to find bugs placed in either a Mustang, a Challenger or a Camaro. In New York City, Jones and Johnson will be asked to find bugs placed in a Mazda CX-5.
Dennis Baglier of Baglier Buick GMC Mazda in Butler County, who is also president of the GPADA, is letting the students use his facility to train with his Mazda Master Technicians to prepare for the event. Baglier is also a contributor to the GPADA’s scholarship fund.
“One of the things the GPADA is working on this year is to build up our scholarship program,” said Baglier. “That way we can help build future automotive technicians who will help support our business.”