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SkillsUSA Competitors to Represent Ferris in National Championships Following Medal Wins

Ferris State University

PHOTO CAPTION: (above photo) A team of Ferris State University students will compete in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky in late June. This group earned a total of six medals in state-level competition. (From left) SkillsUSA Advisor and CAD Drafting and Tool Design Technology Professor Dan Wanink; Jeanette Woolridge, of Pontiac; Joe Lobodzinski, of Essexville; Christine Panjikaran, of Allegan; Luke Reehl, of Marlette; Haven Robinson, of Kingsley; William Cebelak, of Grand Rapids; and Alec Nelson, of Bessemer. (Missing from picture is Mallorie Edwards, of Wyoming.)

A contingent of six Ferris State University College of Engineering Technology students will travel to Louisville, Kentucky, in June, to participate in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, after advancing from a state-level competition held in Grand Rapids.

CAD Drafting and Tool Design Technology Professor Dan Wanink said the state championship, held Friday, April 20 through Sunday, April 22 saw a total of eight students participate in events, which took place in a number of locations. Three gold medals were awarded to Ferris participants in a ceremony at the DeVos Place Convention Center.

“Our students did an outstanding job showing their skills and knowledge to the rest of the state,” Wanink said. “In each contest Ferris entered, a competitor took the Ferris State Universitygold medal, with six medals earned, in all. Our team has managed to dominate the post-secondary competition in Michigan.”

The following medalists advanced to the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference:

  • Haven Robinson, of Kingsley, for Technical Drafting
  • Jeanette Woolridge, of Pontiac, for Architectural Drafting, and
  • William (Grady) Cebelak, of Grand Rapids, for Diesel Equipment Technology

Wanink said the Automated Manufacturing Team of Brett Bouwens, of Cedar Springs; Ryan O’Grady, of Rockford; and Ben Tabbert, of Interlochen, automatically advanced to the competition in Louisville, which will be held from Monday, June 25 through Saturday, June 30.

“I very much appreciate the CET faculty and staff who give of their time and talent to train our competitors and support the SkillsUSA state event,” Wanink said. “Omar Gonzalez, from the Admissions office, manned our booth at the conference and met with potential students along with our Ferris alumni.”

SkillsUSA is a national nonprofit organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations.

Wanink will also serve as the national technical expert and trainer, in support of the United States’ participant in the Mechanical Engineering CAD competition, when the WorldSkills 2019 competition is held in Kazan, Russia.

“This is an extremely exciting opportunity that has arisen from my involvement with SkillsUSA, over the last 15 years,” Wanink said. “I am very humbled and excited, hoping our preparations result in a world championship.”

PHOTO CAPTION: (smaller photo) Ferris State University's participants in the Technical Drafting competition during the 2018 Skills USA Michigan Leadership and Skills Conference had medal winning performances. Haven Robinson of Kingsley (left) was a gold-medal winner, and will advance to the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Ky. in June. Also earning medals were Luke Reehl (center) of Marlette and Mallorie Edwards, (right) of Wyoming. Ferris competitors took a total of six medals in at the State conference, three of them gold.