The 2022 SkillsUSA National Competition, which took place in Atlanta, June 20-24, was supported by Yamaha Marine through the organization and facilitation of the Marine Service Technology competition segment. In addition to the marine technology events, the national competition, which took place at the Georgia World Congress Center, also featured welding, construction trades, manufacturing, transportation, health care, hospitality, human services and more.
SkillsUSAis a national membership association serving college/postsecondary, high school and middle school students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and skill service occupations. The organization gives students opportunities to test their skills against others for a chance to compete on a national level to earn scholarships and other prizes.
Gregg Snyder, Yamaha Marine Training Department Manager, and Mark Harden, Yamaha Marine District Service Manager, served as National Technical Chairperson and National Technical Co-Chairperson of the Marine Technology Competition during the 2022 SkillsUSA National Competition, positions they assumed in 2019.
“When the Yamaha team started attending the national competition, we noticed there was a lack of industry support for this competition and we realized how important it was, not just for our dealers and tech schools, but for the students attending those tech schools,” said Snyder. “We devote substantial resources and time to SkillsUSA on an annual basis to help develop a pipeline of qualified technicians for our dealer partners. When dealerships can recruit talented technicians, customer service and experiences on the water improve exponentially.”
Yamaha sponsored 16 labs at the competition, which included individual skill stations and a written or online test. The hands-on test stations featured many aspects of two-stroke and four-stroke outboards, stern drive and inboard troubleshooting and repair. The written or online test included diagnostics, service and repair of marine accessory items. The labs tested the abilities of marine contestants by evaluating their skills in areas such as precision measuring, electrical testing, component identification, repair, diagnostics and more.
State and regional SkillsUSAcompetitions give Yamaha the opportunity to work directly with Technical School Partners (TSPs) to place talented, skilled professionals with certified Yamaha dealers. Yamaha Marine currently has more than 100 Technical School Partners that offer Yamaha-certified marine technical training curriculum to students. Yamaha works with technical schools to improve their curriculum and classroom training aids.
In 2018, 2019 and 2022, five of the six overall winners were affiliated with Yamaha Technical School Partners.
“Yamaha’s dedication to building the next generation of marine technicians is unsurpassed in the industry,” said Matt Springs, Horry-Georgetown Technical College Professor, Yamaha Master Technician and SkillsUSA judge. “As the only outboard manufacturer to offer support in the form of parts donations, student course content, curriculum and SkillsUSA involvement, Yamaha is leading the charge in marine technician career development.”
SkillsUSA competitions also serve as excellent opportunities for marine dealers to recruit qualified technicians at the state level. Yamaha Marine Service team members attend roughly 10 state SkillsUSAcompetitions during the year to support Yamaha students. Yamaha Marine dealers also attend these competitions to observe the students in action and network for future opportunities within their dealerships.
“Attending SkillsUSA competitions has many benefits from a dealership perspective. It’s amazing to see the depth of what’s available outside of mainstream education in terms of training for young technicians,” said Clark Pickett, Fixed Operations Manager, OneWater Marine Dealership. “The industry is desperate for technicians, and for companies like Yamaha to invest in the next generation is absolutely critical.”
2022 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference Marine Service Technology Medalists:
*Yamaha Marine Technical School Partner
|Marine Service Technology||Walker Gordon|
|High School||*Carteret Community College|
|Gold||Morehead City, NC|
|Marine Service Technology||Brayden Arnold|
|High School||Lehigh Career & Technical Institute|
|Marine Service Technology||Alexander Lopez|
|High School||*Lake Career and Technical Center|
|Marine Service Technology||Garret Bonello|
|College||Alexandria Technical & Community College|
|Marine Service Technology||Trevor Ray|
|College||*Pinellas Technical College-Clearwater|
|Marine Service Technology||Colton Phillips|
|College||*Lanier Technical College|