April 29, 2014 8:15AM
A California student who trained at Pittsburg State University recently earned a silver medal at the third annual World Skills Americas Competition.
Michael Mullen, a student at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, Calif., won silver in the Automotive Technology category of the competition, which took place in Bogota, Colombia. Mullen visited Pitt State earlier this year to train with Automotive Technology faculty members Ron Downing, Mike Elder and Scott Norman at the Kansas Technology Center.
“We’re very proud of Michael and all he accomplished at the competition,” said Norman, Pitt State assistant professor and United States Technical Delegate for WorldSkills. “He worked hard on this, and it’s been a pleasure to work with him during this process.”
Jacob Wozniak, a student at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in Springville, N.Y., was the other Team USA member to compete in Bogota. He earned a silver medal in cabinet making.
More than 180 competitors from 17 countries in North, Central and South America competed in the event, which featured 31 different skill categories.
“It’s like the Olympics, but the events are in the skilled trades instead of athletics,” Norman said.
As Technical Delegate, Norman served as team leader for the USA WorldTeam and jury president for the Automotive Technology and Cabinetmaking Skills, two programs in the PSU Kansas Technology Center.
Elder, an auto tech instructor at Pitt State, is the WorldSkills automotive technical expert responsible for the training of the U.S. competitors. His main responsibility at the competition was to develop and implement a workstation with other countries’ experts for the Automotive Technology Skill. He also was elected deputy chief expert at the 2012 WorldSkills Americas Competition and helped manage the operation of the 2014 Automotive Technology Skill.
“The creation of the contest station and then judging the competitors made for some very long days,” he said. “However, the effort was well worth it, as our competitors learned a great deal about the workings of WorldSkills competitions and gained valuable experience that will help them to better prepare for the 2015 WorldSkills International Competition.”
The 2015 WorldSkills International competition will take place San Paulo, Brazil. Norman said more than 1,000 competitors will take part in the event, and he plans to have Team USA members in at least a dozen of the 45 skilled events.