Chicago, Louisville See GNTC Students as Finalists on National Stage
(Chicago, IL) – The best and the brightest from Georgia Northwestern Technical College competed on the national stage in two cities this past week. Bobcats took their talents to the Phi Beta Lambda professional skills competition in Chicago, Illinois and the SkillsUSA professional skills competition in Louisville, Kentucky.
The top performance on the week came by way of marketing student Heather Shirley. The Lindale, Georgia resident was among the nation’s 10 best collegiate students in the Marketing Concepts category at the 2015 Phi Beta Lambda competition in Chicago. In the end, the Windy City would see Shirley make waves as she took home fifth in the nation in the marketing specialization.
“Heather is a great student. She’s one of those students where you find yourself saying, ‘I wish I had a hundred Heathers in the program,” said Mark Upton, Director of GNTC’s Marketing program. “She’s pleasant and takes a leadership role in just everything we do. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She’s a mother, a student, working a job, and took the time to take what she’s learned to Chicago and show what she’s made of.”
The 38-year-old marketing student says the experience in Chicago was surreal. “Going in to the ceremony, I felt like I had done really well in the competition,” said Shirley. “It was very exciting hearing my name called among the finalists. I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to learn from my marketing instructor. Mr. Upton is great. He makes his lectures interesting and keeps the class engaged.”
Shirley, as well as Daniel Heiman of the Walker County Campus (Economic Analysis), Irvan Santos and Gerardo Rameriz of the Whitfield Murray Campus (Network Design), Cody Godwin of the Floyd County Campus (Cyber Security), Jeremiah Thomas of the Whitfield Murray Campus (Contemporary Sports and Sports Management and Marketing), Marcos Diaz of the Whitfield Murray Campus (International Business), Rhys Turner of the Walker County Campus (Organizational Behavior and Leadership) Janice Fowler and Janeema Ware of the Whitfield Murray Campus (Human Resource Management), and Manuel Montelongo of the Whitfield Murray Campus (Computer Applications) placed high enough on the state level this past spring to compete nationally.
“We’ve been very competitive on the national stage for several years with this competition,” said GNTC PBL advisor Dione Waddington. Waddington and fellow PBL advisor Patty Hart also attending the week-long conference and competition. The last GNTC’er to win top honors in the nation was Dalton, Georgia’s Mario Trejo. In 2013, Trejo and other collegiate finalists traveled to Nashville, Tennessee where he would win top honors in the Justice Administration category.
PBL, along with the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), is the largest and oldest student business organization in the nation. The annual event allows students to sharpen their business skills, expand their networks, and participate in more than 55 business and business-related competitive events.
In Louisville, Kentucky, GNTC’s SkillsUSA contingency performed on the national stage. Austin Hill of the Walker County Campus (Automotive Service), Ashtin Pope of the Walker County Campus (Technical Drafting), and Dillon Worley of the Floyd County Campus (Welding) were named as finalists nationally after placing at the state level this past spring. Announcements on individual winners will be made later this week.
SkillsUSA consists of students, teachers and industry representatives working towards a properly skilled workforce. “SkillsUSA helps teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations, including health occupations and for further education. SkillsUSA was formerly known as VICA (the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America),” states the SkillsUSA website, SkillsUSA.org.
Approximately 14,500 people benefit from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs, making it the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in Georgia. Georgia Northwestern offers classes on-campus or online throughout the year. GNTC serves Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, Floyd, Gordon, Murray, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties in Georgia with campuses located in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties.