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SkillsUSA Participants Include Gold, Silver Winners, Gallagher Wins Scholarship for HVACR Training

SkillsUSAFerris State University College of Engineering Technology students found success June 22-23 at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky.

Seven CET students traveled to the Kentucky Exposition Center for the SkillsUSA Championships, and competed in five categories. Their excellence was on display, as gold and silver awards were earned by four participants.

“I like to think of the competition as the Olympics for people that make the world work,” said Ferris CAD Drafting and Tool Design professor Dan Wanink, lead advisor to the SkillsUSA competitors. “It was once again very exciting to hear our students’ names announced.”

Ryan Gallagher, of Big Rapids, took Gold in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, after winning similar honors in the state-level competition in April, at Ferris’ Granger Center for Construction and HVACR. Gallagher’s win, in the national championship, saw him named a Rees Scholarship recipient by the Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, of Arlington, Va. The foundation has awarded nearly $440,000 in scholarships to more than 250 deserving students and instructors since it was founded, in 2003. Gallagher will begin his Bachelor of Science studies in HVACR Engineering Technology and Energy Management this fall, after completing an Associate of Applied Science degree in HVACR Technology.

Silver medal honors were earned in Automated Manufacturing Technology by Ferris’ team of Eli Buist, of Allendale; Tyler Cook, of Big Rapids; and Andrew Ketchum, of Wayland. All three are pursuing Bachelor of Science degrees in Manufacturing Engineering Technology, Cook earned his Associate of Applied Science degree in CAD Drafting, in May.

The university’s other SkillsUSA Championship participants included Dion Analitis, of Barrington, Ill., who earned a fifth-place finish in Diesel Equipment Technology, and Trevor Purdy, of Remus, who took fifth place in Technical Drafting. Nicholas Carrington, of Brimley, was 15th in CNC Milling Technology.

“I am extremely proud of our students, and of the Ferris faculty and staff that assist these students in gaining a real-world education that leads to a lifetime career,” Wanink said. “These results continue to prove that Ferris State University is one of the best schools in the nation for training our future workforce.”

More than 6,000 high school and college students took part in 100 separate competitions during the two-day event.

PHOTO CAPTION: Ferris State University's Automated Technology Manufacturing team of Eli Buist, of Allendale, Tyler Cook, of Big Rapids, and Andrew Ketchum, of Wayland compete in the 2016 SkillsUSA Championships in Louisville, Ky. The Ferris team took a silver medal for their performance.