Two student auto technicians from Ohio were the big winners in this year's Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition.
Waylon Tilley and Matthew Snodgrass, both 18, of Buckeye Hills Career Center, Rio Grande, Ohio, won the competition held June 17 near the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. Each won a $2,500 general education scholarship and several other prizes, including tuition scholarship offers from four different technical colleges-Ohio Technical College, Universal Technical Institute, WyoTech and the University of Northwestern Ohio.
Buckeye Hills Career Center also won a trophy, and Douglas Crabtree, its auto repair instructor, won the AAA Quality Automotive Teacher Award.
Second-prize winners were Douglas McCarthy and Steven Colbert, both 18, of Wayne Tech & Career Center, Williamson, N.Y. Messrs. McCarthy and Colbert each won $2,000 general scholarships and tuition scholarship offers from the four schools.
Third place-with $1,500 general scholarships and tuition scholarship offers-went to Tony Kelly and Nathanial Greenough, both 18, of South Shore Vo Tech, Hanover, Mass.
These were three of 50 two-student teams from around the U.S. that won state championships sponsored by Ford Motor Co. and AAA and were invited to participate in the national contest. This competition, designed to promote auto technical education in the U.S., was in two parts: a written exam and a hands-on contest to fix identical problems in identical cars-this year, Ford Mustang convertibles.
Messrs. Tilley and Snodgrass combined a perfect showing in the hands-on competition with the highest score on the written exam to win the 2002 contest. It took them only 46 minutes to fix their vehicle, according to the AAA.
Ford also held a separate ``Ultimate MASTER Technician Challenge'' for regional champions among Ford, Lincoln and Mercury MASTER Technicians at company car dealerships. Toney Patterson, Southwest Region champ and a technician at Dunn Ford Co. in Stigler, Okla., won the first prize of $6,000 and a two-year lease of a 2002 Ford F250 Super Duty pickup truck.
John Nielsen, director of AAA's Auto Repair Network, cited a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimate that by 2010 some 150,000 new auto technicians will be needed. ``Now, more than ever, the automotive field is a viable option'' for students, he said.
Though traditionally held in Washington since its inception in 1949, the Student Auto Skills Competition will be held in Detroit next year, in honor of Ford's 100th anniversary.