Chief’s relationship with the SkillsUSA Championship began in 1986 as part of the company’s overall educational program and an opportunity to give back to the industry. Chief supplies most of the structural repair equipment that students use at the competition, including a frame rack, computerized measuring system and damage simulators.
Chief also developed the structural repair written test that is administered during the contest. Ken Soupene, an independent instructor for Chief University, volunteers as the Collision Repair Technology (CRT) committee leader. He recruits judges and works with other committee members, including Richard Perry, Chief global repair product manager; Mike Croker of Chief distributor Automotive Technology; Marty Hettle, retired; and Bob Keith of CARSTAR to set up and tear down the structural repair CRT area, oversee testing, answer questions and supervise the area all week.
“SkillsUSA is helping to properly train future collision repair technicians in modern structural damage analysis and repair techniques to prepare them for rewarding careers in the industry,” Perry says. “In effect, SkillsUSA is building better technicians for body shops, insurance companies and others in the industry. Chief is proud to be a part of the process.”
More than 15,000 students, teachers and business partners are expected to participate in this year’s SkillsUSA Conference. The event runs all week, with the SkillsUSA Championships taking place on Tuesday, June 26, in H. Roe Bartle Hall and Municipal Auditorium. More than 5,600 outstanding career and technical education students will compete hands-on in 94 different trade, technical and leadership fields. Students work against the clock and each other to prove their expertise.