The winners of the annual SkillsUSA Championships in PRECISION MACHINING TECHNOLOGY were announced Wednesday evening, June 27, at the Awards Ceremony of the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference. The Conference was held June 23 - June 27, 2012, at the Municipal Auditorium, the Kemper Arena, H. Roe Bartle Hall, the downtown Marriott and the downtown Crowne Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri. Over 5,600 outstanding career and technical education students joined in the excitement of hands on competition in 94 different trade, technical, and leadership fields.

Working against the clock and each other, the participants proved their expertise in job skills for occupations such as electronics, technical drafting, precision machining, medical assisting and culinary arts. There were also competitions in leadership skills, such as extemporaneous speaking and conducting meetings by parliamentary procedures.

SkillsUSA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupations education. It sponsors the SkillsUSA Championships annually to recognize the achievements of career and technical education students and to encourage them to strive for excellence and pride in their chosen occupations.

The contests are planned by technical committees made up of representatives of labor and management and are designed to test the skills needed for a successful entry level performance in given occupational fields. Safety practices and procedures - an area of great concern to labor and management alike - are judged and graded and constitute a portion of a contestant’s score. A short video about the National Leadership and Skills Conference is available online at

Precision Machining Technology contestants competed in the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) Level I and II manual machining skills and knowledge areas including operation of manual milling machines, lathes, drill presses, and surface grinders. Contestant knowledge of CNC programming skills using a PC was evaluated. Related knowledge and skill in the areas of engineering drawing interpretation, GD&T, technical math, machining practices, use of precision measuring hand tools and ability to communicate verbally using proper industry terminology was also part of the competition.


The members of the technical committee for the Precision Machining contest include Co-chair, Gregory Chambers, Oberg Industries (Pa.); Co-chair, Jim Wall, National Institute for Metalworking Skills (Va.); Julie Aitkens, Honeywell, Inc. (Mo.); Darrell Bryant, Honeywell Inc. - Aerospace (Ariz.); Keith Crawford, Sandvik Coromant Company (N.J.); George Crossland, Crossland Machinery (Mo.); Edward Dobkins, Dobkins Drill Systems, Inc. (Kan.); Doug Nelson, IRWIN Industrial Tool Company (N.C.); Robert Parent, Gateway Community College (Ariz.); Scott Robinson, L. S. Starrett Company (Mass.); Jerry Sage, Haas Automation, Inc. (Calif.); Bob Skodzinsky, Haas Automation, Inc. (Fla.); Chuck Tate, Sandvik Coromant Company (N.J.); Joel Weiss, Haas Automation, Inc. (Calif.); Casey Wright, Keller North America (Mich.); and, Kenneth Wright, Keller North America (Mich.).

A national education team assists the national technical committee. Members include Chair, Dennis Merritt, Hillyard Technical Center (Mo.); Kelly Byrd, Lebanon Technology and Career Center (Mo.); Bill Clarke, Technical Employment Training, Inc. (Calif.); Stan Green, Lebanon Technology and Career Center (Mo.); Lynette Havens, Bollman Technical Education Center (Colo.); Mark Moehlman, Kansas City Kansas Comm. College Tech. Ed. Ctr. (Kan.); Larry Noller, South Central Career Center (Mo.); Dan Sunia, Petaluma High School (Calif.); and, James Wiley (Tenn.).

Other supporting organizations Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT); Boston Centerless; Boston Tooling and Machining Association; Calculated Industries, Inc.; Gene Haas Foundation; Industrial Press, Inc.; Metropolitan Community College; Precision Metalforming Association (PMA); Ranken Technical College; Siemens; SME Education Foundation; Southern Manufacturing Technologies; TCI Precision Metals; and, Timberland PRO.

SkillsUSA helps students discover and grow their career passions. As a nationwide partnership of students, instructors and industry working together, SkillsUSA works to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It helps every student excel. The nationwide career and technical education (CTE) student organization serves more than 320,000 high school, college and postsecondary students—and their instructors—in technical, skilled, and service occupation instructional programs. CTE is learning that works for America. SkillsUSA has the active support of more than 1,100 corporations, trade associations, business and labor unions at the national level. Over 10.5 million people have been annual members of SkillsUSA since its founding as The Vocational Industrial Clubs of America in 1965. SkillsUSA programs teach leadership, citizenship and character development to complement technical skill training. The organization emphasizes respect for the dignity of work, ethics, workmanship, scholarship and safety.

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.