RCCC students place first in nation for HVAC

Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 7, 2018

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College

SALISBURY — Not just one, but two Rowan-Cabarrus Community College students were named the top air conditioning, heating and refrigeration students in the country at the 53rd annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working to ensure the nation has a skilled workforce. The organization’s mission is to help its members become world-class workers, leaders and responsible citizens.

William Bullard, a student in the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration program, competed for the first time this year, locally, regionally and nationally. Bullard is the first Rowan-Cabarrus national champion in the heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration competition, bringing home the gold with a first-place win.

William Almon, a student in the same program, competed in the major appliance and refrigeration technology competition. Almon received gold and the title of national champion with a first-place finish.

“We are so proud of our first-place winners. What an accomplishment to train in your field and then compete, ranking No. 1 across the entire country,” said college President Carol S. Spalding.

The SkillsUSA Championships showcase the best career and technical education students in the nation. Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels.

This is a multimillion-dollar competition that occupies a space equivalent to 16 football fields. Nearly 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible. More than 6,000 career and technical education students, all state contest winners, compete in 100 hands-on trade, technical and leadership fields.

“College is about more than just the classes. At Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, students are encouraged to get involved in activities and organizations beyond the classroom, like SkillsUSA, that take their education to the next level,” said Spalding. “Rowan-Cabarrus is so proud of our student champions and the way they represented the college.”

The week in Louisville involved contest preparations, practices, safety seminars, tests, interview, and training.

Students worked against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in occupations such as electronics, computer-aided drafting, HVACR, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. Contests were run with the help of industry, trade associations and labor organizations.

Leadership contestants demonstrated skills including extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedure.

“SkillsUSA is a very worthwhile organization for our students to be involved with, and we are proud that our student club and the college has associated themselves with SkillsUSA,” said Joe Christie, construction technologies group chairman for AHR, CMT, and ELC programs.

The college had three other competitors at the national competition:

• Zachary Donahue of the air conditioning, heating and refrigeration program competed in sheet metal. Donahue took second-place in the nation. He missed first place by 0.26 percentage points in that contest.

• Wilbert Torrence, one of North Carolina’s SkillsUSA student postsecondary committee leaders, from the automotive program, was a last-minute replacement for the state winner in extemporaneous speaking, who was unable to attend. Even though he was not expecting to compete, he finished in 10th place in a competitive event.

• Jacob Rife of the automotive program competed in marine service technology, placing 12fth in the nation.

“It was a very rewarding time when the awards ceremony finally arrived on Friday night. The awards are called in no particular order, so we all waited with great anticipation of our students’ contests to be called,” said Crockett. “Our students performed extremely well.”

SkillsUSA helps prepare America’s high-performance workers in public career and technical programs and provides experience for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship and character development.

The philosophy of the SkillsUSA championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.

If you have questions about participating in SkillsUSA, contact Carl Smith at carl.smith@rccc.edu.

For more information about Rowan-Cabarrus Community College, visit www.rccc.edu/apply or call 704-216-7222.