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A Tradition of Student Success Continues with Skills USA Gold, Silver Medal Wins

SkillsUSA winners

SkillsUSA competitors from Ferris State University came away with medal-winning performances at the 2022 National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Atlanta, June 20-25. Nat Pytlowany (left) from Lake Odessa took a silver medal in Diesel Equipment Technology and Evan Wendling (right) from Chesaning earned gold in CNC Milling. Advisor Dan Wanink (center) has supported Ferris’ SkillsUSA competitors for nearly 20 years.

Two Ferris State University College of Engineering Technology students were medalists in the 2022 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, held June 20-25 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Evan Wendling, a third-year student in Manufacturing Engineering Technology from Chesaning, earned a gold medal in CNC Milling. Nathaniel (Nat) Pytlowany, a cum laude Heavy Equipment Service Engineering Technology graduate from Lake Odessa, won a silver medal in the Diesel Equipment Technology competition. Dan Wanink, a CAD Drafting and Tool Design professor, served as Ferris’ SkillsUSA advisor. Wanink said their success continues a tradition of excellence at the conference for students from the university.

“I like to think of the contests like the Olympics for people that make the world work,” Wanink said. “It was once again very exciting to hear our students’ names being announced, and I am so proud of these achievements that continue to show that Ferris prepares our students with the real-world skills used in the workplace.”

Wanink said more than 6,500 state gold medal winners competed in the weeklong event. He added that campus collaboration is a key to the success of the Ferris contestants in the large field.

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

The competitors seeking medals participate in a range of 108 hands-on trade, technical and leadership categories, in relatable aspects in line with the nation’s workforce. One thousand one hundred fifty medals were awarded to postsecondary and secondary-level competitors during the 2022 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference.

Wanink, who has associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Ferris, has also advised WorldSkills participants from other postsecondary schools for their international competitions, which he found very rewarding.

“I am most proud of more than 30 Skills USA national medalists who developed their craft on Ferris’ Big Rapids campus over nearly two decades,” Wanink said. “I have loved Ferris since my first visit and being part of this learning opportunity means a great deal to me.”