TechForce announces grand prize winner in national student awards

March 8, 2023
Taeler Coverdale, a collision student at the Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas, was the grand prize winner of the 2023 FutureTechs Rock Awards.

TechForce Foundation has announced Taeler Coverdale as the grand prize winner of its 2023 FutureTechs Rock Awards.

Coverdale is a collision student at the Universal Technical Institute in Houston, Texas, and was chosen as the Grand Prize winner out of a list of ten students who each won in a distinct category.

A $1,000 TechForce scholarship and $4,000 in prizes will be awarded to Coverdale. Prizes are provided by TechForce as well as sponsors such as Advance Auto Parts, Nissan, and Volvo.

Upon being revealed as the winner, Coverdale said that she was “in utter shock.”

“Thank you for the opportunity...being an example for other women...that’s what I want, that’s why I'm in this,” she said. “I want to make a difference for women in this industry. If a girl sees that she might think she’s able to do this as a career.”

More than 4,000 TechForce followers voted in this year’s awards. The student with the most votes was Coverdale, earning her the grand prize from among ten contenders who were all category winners. Coverdale was previously named as the collision repair category winner.

“Role models like Taeler show students that there is a place for them in technician careers. As we all know, young people are so much more likely to pursue a career if they see people like them succeeding in it. Women account for less than 3 percent of transportation techs, and so welcoming women into the trade is critical to addressing the ongoing technician shortage. TechForce is proud to celebrate Taeler and the new generation of women joining the industry,” said TechForce Executive Director Jennifer Maher.

As the grand prize winner, Coverdale will receive a $1,000 TechForce scholarship and $4,000 in prizes from TechForce and sponsors including Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Cengage Learning, CRC Industries, Mighty Auto Parts, New Ford Tech, Nissan, Snap-on Industrial, Volvo and WD-40 Company.

Through the FutureTechs Rock Awards, TechForce and its partners have awarded 50 transportation technician students with over $67,000 in prizes and scholarships since 2019. The Awards are made possible because of generous donations from people and companies that believe everyone should have a chance to succeed.

Learn more about the 2023 grand prize and category Winners at

Each of the ten category winners has been awarded $1,500 in prizes. Category winners were selected by industry-expert judges from hundreds of High School and post-secondary nominations, representing 182 campuses across 38 states. 30 percent of the Category Winners were women, a significant proportion considering only 3 percent of professional technicians are women.

The ten Category Winners represent seven states and ten schools, with each being recognized in a distinct technical education discipline:

  • Automotive – Abbie Vetse, Hennepin Technical College, Maple Grove, Minn.
  • Aviation – Teresa Sacca, Antelope Valley College, Lancaster, Calif.
  • Collision Repair – Taeler Coverdale, Universal Technical Institute, Houston, Tex.
  • Diesel Off-Road – Nicholas Isaly, Lenawee ISD TECH Center, Adrian, Mich.
  • Diesel On-Road – Andrew Younkin, Western Technical College, El Paso, Tex.
  • Marine and Watercraft – Benjamin Pooler, Portland Arts & Technology High School, Buxton, Maine
  • Motorcycle and ATV – Everrett Novak, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, Phoenix, Az.
  • Motorsports – Benjamin Delauter, NASCAR Technical Institute, Mooresville, N.C.
  • Restoration – Tyler Renken, Central Carolina Community College, Bunnlevel, N.C.
  • Welding and CNC – Connor Essary, St. Clair TEC, St. Clair, Mich.

The FutureTechs Rock Awards are part of TechForce’s workforce development campaign to inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. TechForce also created the first and only social network designed and gamified for professional technicians and tech students to connect with each other, employers and schools ( The transportation community is supporting it with content and using it to learn, connect, find events, and explore job opportunities while competing for prizes and leaderboard status.

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