NEW YORK (April 30, 2015) — High school students Tony Litz and Nick Schroeder of Wallenpaupack Area High School in Hawley, Pa., earned the title of “America's Top Technicians” after winning the 2015 National Automotive Technology Competition.
The competition, which took place March 29-30 during the New York International Automobile Show, was developed in 1993 by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association to help curb the shortage of qualified automotive technicians and raise the level of vocational education standards in the public school system. It is dubbed the auto industry's largest school-to-work initiative.
During the competition, each two-person team of high school students is assigned an automobile that is rigged to malfunction in a number of ways. Using a repair order with actual customer complaints, the student teams must diagnose and repair the problem within the allotted time, using the manufacturer's specialty tools. Each "bug" correctly diagnosed and repaired is worth a number of points, depending on the level of difficulty.
The teams also undergo a series of work station sessions to test their knowledge of emissions control systems, alignment, electrical test equipment, airbag components, oscilloscope usage and mechanical measurement equipment.
To prepare for the competition, students are trained at local new car dealerships, according to organizers. Regional and state contests are held across the country to determine the nation's top automotive students. The winning student teams then move on to represent their state at the national finals in New York.
About 60 students participated in the national contest and received prizes and scholarships totaling more than $3 million from contributions of more than 125 industry sponsors including automakers, industry organizations, OEM suppliers, educational institutions, and dealers associations. Snap-on, the competition's official tool supplier, provided tool sets to all the competitors.
The Wallenpaupack team was guided by Instructor Mark Watson and sponsored by the Pennsylvania Automotive Association. It was the first team from Pennsylvania to win the competition, according to organizers.
The rest of the top five winning teams are:
- Second place: Brian Moss and Viktor Pokrachinskiy (Instructor Robert Schwarz) of Middle Bucks Institute of Technology, sponsored by the Automobile Dealers Association of Greater Philadelphia;
- Third place: James Polites and Adam Rogers (Instructors Joe Musa and Edgard Solis) of Sheridan Technical, sponsored by the South Florida Automobile Dealers Association;
- Fourth place: Brandon Galicia and Joe Lomeli (Instructor Joe Agruso) of Van Nuys High School, sponsored by the Greater Los Angeles New Car Dealers Association; and
- Fifth place: Tyler Bishop and Kristijan Filipovic (Instructor Anthony Rozman) of Euclid High School, sponsored by the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers Association.