Chief, a collision repair products and services manufacturer, is entering its 32nd year as the sponsor of the Collision Repair Technology (CRT) Championship at the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, hosted June 25-29 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
As a sponsor of the championship, Chief supports future collision repair professionals as they compete for a national title and sharpen their skills for a career in collision.
“There is a huge need for qualified technicians in this industry, especially with the average age of technicians being between 50 to 55,” said Richard Perry, OEM and strategic account sales manager for Chief. “It won’t be long before that generation of technicians will start retiring or rotating out, which will leave a void. This competition is mutually beneficial for employers and future technicians. It definitely gives the students more opportunity to showcase their skills in hopes of potentially landing jobs available across the country.”
More than 16,000 people, including students, teachers and business partners, are expected to participate at this year’s SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville. Thousands of the best career and technical education high school and college students in the nation will put their collision repair know-how to work by participating in skills competitions, covering all aspects of collision repair.
Contestants will take written tests and go through an application for work process where they present a resume and have an interview with a volunteer judge. In the structural analysis segment of the competition, students use three types of measuring devices – centerline gauges, mechanical, and computerized systems – to identify damage in the test vehicles. For the computerized measuring portion, a damaged unibody car will be held on a Chief impulse-E/VHT frame rack and measured with Chief’s new Meridian Align Live Mapping system. Contestants will be judged on the overall appearance of the finished product, speed and proper safety practices.
The winning college and high school students in the CRT Championship will receive a free registration for any upcoming Chief University course, which provide hands-on training across North America.
Volunteers support the largest gathering of vocational students in North America. This year’s CRT committee includes Perry, Mike Croker, Chief global repair and training product manager; Bob Keith of Assured Performance; Quinn Machan of Nationwide Insurance; Tom Cieslet of Nationwide Insurance; John Resler (retired from Nationwide Insurance); and chairman Ken Soupene of Collision Train, who was a senior Chief University instructor for many years. Croker (2001, 2002) and Perry (1985) both competed in the SkillsUSA Competition as youth when it was called VICA.