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American Dream, Passion at Foundation of Local SkillsUSA National Qualifier

Whitfield County, GA welder to compete against best in nation

 

(Whitfield County, Georgia)  Wearing his American Flag bandana, 21-year-old Daniel Lopez looks up from his latest project on the Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) Whitfield Murray Campus (WMC) for a quick picture. But trying to sum up his life in a snapshot would be impossible. Although you wouldn’t call him your typical blue-collar worker, you may say Lopez already has a degree in hard work.

Of course, he comes by it honestly.

Daniel Lopez - Welding - SkillsUSA
“Whitfield Murray Campus welding technology student Daniel Lopez of Dalton, Georgia dons his American Flag bandana as he takes a look at a project being completed in the Georgia Northwestern Technical College Welding Technology lab. Lopez is part of a three-person welding fabrication team which has qualified to compete against some of the best young welders in the nation this summer.”

Less than two months from his trip to compete against some of the best welders in America at the National SkillsUSA competition in Louisville, Kentucky, the Dalton, Georgia native’s story starts more than 20 years ago when his parents moved from Mexico hoping for a great life in the states. It would be their first-born that would really help make their dreams a reality.

The oldest child of Maria and Dionisio Lopez, Daniel is the first person in his family to go to college. However, working a full-time job Friday through Sunday at Dalton, Georgia’s Tandus Centiva and then part-time hours with Rossville, Georgia’s Warrior Guitars, Lopez is truly putting his blue-collar roots and servant’s heart to work every day of the week.

“I am a lot like my parents. My mom does in-home care for special needs kids and my dad is a maintenance man. They have good hearts and just work hard,” proudly stated Lopez. “Twelve-hour shifts at the plant and working extra hours whenever they (Warrior Guitars) need is a lot. But I like it. It’s worth it.” Lopez is an hourly employee at Tandus Centiva and helps make guitar bodies for the Walker County, Georgia music business in his spare time.

Spare time is not something this Southeast Whitfield alum has a lot of these days, though. You can blame that on his success.

Lopez, along with fellow Dalton, Georgia resident Isaiah Jackson, and Ringgold, Georgia resident Jacob Hargrove are scheduled to travel to the SkillsUSA National Competition June 19-23. These three comprise the college’s Welding Fabrication team; the event in which they took home top honors on the state level in March to help them earn the national bid.

“This is the first GNTC welding team headed to the national level to have someone from the Whitfield Murray Campus,” said GNTC Welding Instructor Wayne Henderson. “Just knowing Daniel and his work ethic, it doesn’t surprise me that he’d be a part of something like this. He’s meant for something big.”

Before Lopez won a Georgia Northwestern Technical College Foundation scholarship to attend the WMC in 2014, he previously caught the eye of SkillsUSA judges while competing on the high school level down in Raider country. As a Southeast Whitfield High School competitor, Lopez placed second in the state in a woodworking category. “I love working with wood, too,” said Lopez. “First thing I ever made was a wooden trailer for a remote-controlled car I owned. I wanted it to have a trailer and I couldn’t find one anywhere that anyone sold. So, I made my own.”

Lopez is now building a career for himself as he anticipates completing his Welding Technology diploma by the end of 2017. With younger siblings still in school and looking up to him, Lopez has no plans on slowing down now. “I have my own dreams,” said Lopez. “I’m just glad I’m getting a chance to make them happen. Just thankful for getting the chance to compete this June. I just want to be able to show what I can do.”

SkillsUSA is a national, non-profit student organization that has developed more than 10 million workers through active partnerships between employers, educators, and industry leaders. SkillsUSA programs include local, state, and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills. At the annual SkillsUSA National Championship, nearly 6,000 students compete in 100 occupational and leadership skill areas.

Georgia Northwestern Technical College provides quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. Students have the opportunity to earn an associate degree, diploma, or a certificate in business, health, industrial, or public service career paths. This past year, 14,151 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,956 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,195 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.  For more information about GNTC, visit us at GNTC.edu or contact a Student Help Center on any one of our six campus locations at 866-983-4682.  For information online, visit the college at GNTC.edu, as well as on GNTC’s Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, WordPress, and YouTube channels. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

Seven GNTC’ers Win Medals At SkillsUSA, Three Head To Nationals

Austin Hill (left) won a gold medal in Automotive Service Technology and Ashtin Pope (right) won a gold medal in Technical Drafting at the 2015 SkillsUSA Georgia competition.
Austin Hill (left) won a gold medal in Automotive Service Technology and Ashtin Pope (right) won a gold medal in Technical Drafting at the 2015 SkillsUSA Georgia competition.
Dillon Worley (right) won a gold medal in Welding at the 2015 SkillsUSA Georgia competition. Also pictured is Joe Burrage (left) director of Welding and Joining Technology at GNTC.
Dillon Worley (right) won a gold medal in Welding at the 2015 SkillsUSA Georgia competition. Also pictured is Joe Burrage (left) director of Welding and Joining Technology at GNTC.

(Northwest Georgia) – Seven Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) students won gold and silver medals at the annual SkillsUSA State Championships held recently in Atlanta.

The GNTC students competed against students from other technical colleges in Georgia. The competition allowed students to take the skills, knowledge, and experience that they have gained in their program of study and apply it to a real-world project based on industry standards.

“We are very proud of our students,” said Michael Myers, lead advisor for the SkillsUSA organization at GNTC. “They did a great job of recruiting for SkillsUSA and they did a lot of community service around the college and community.”

Listed are the SkillsUSA Georgia gold medal winners from GNTC showing (from left to right) the student’s name, program of study, campus, and hometown:

  • Austin Hill, Automotive Service Technology, Walker County Campus, Crandall
  • Ashtin Pope, Technical Drafting, Walker County Campus, Chickamauga
  • Dillon Worley, Welding, Floyd County Campus, Summerville

Listed are the SkillsUSA Georgia silver medal winners from GNTC showing (from left to right) the student’s name, program of study, campus, and hometown:

  • Patrick Hayes, Chapter Display, Walker County Campus, Chickamauga
  • Logan Hendricks, Chapter Display, Walker County Campus, Rossville
  • Serra Hendricks, Chapter Display, Walker County Campus, Rossville
  • Patrick Keith, Technical Drafting, Walker County Campus, Ringgold

The three gold medal winners will compete at the national level, June 22-27, in Louisville, Ky.

“They will not only represent GNTC at nationals; they will represent the State of Georgia,” said Myers.

SkillsUSA is a national, nonprofit student organization that has developed more than 10 million workers through active partnerships between employers, educators, and industry leaders. SkillsUSA programs include local, state and national competitions in which students demonstrate occupational and leadership skills. At the annual national-level SkillsUSA Championships, nearly 6,000 students compete in 99 occupational and leadership skill areas.

Since 1962, Georgia Northwestern Technical College has been instrumental in providing quality workforce education to the citizens of Northwest Georgia. The mission of Georgia Northwestern Technical College is to provide accessible, high quality technical education and workforce development opportunities.  Serving the nine counties of Catoosa; Chattooga; Dade; Floyd; Gordon; Murray; Polk; Walker; and Whitfield, GNTC has five convenient campus locations in Floyd, Gordon, Polk, Walker, and Whitfield counties. With programs of study in business, health, industrial, and public service available, students have the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree, diploma, or a certificate from GNTC.  This past year, 14,562 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 8,249 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia and the fifth largest technical college in the state of Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 6,313 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start.

Students Compete in SkillsUSA Competition at GNTC

Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) hosted the SkillsUSA Region 1 Competition on Friday, January 23, 2015.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. It is a national organization serving 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.

Students competed in areas including Advertising Design, Architectural Drafting, Automotive Refinishing Technology, Automotive Service Technology, Broadcast News Production, Cabinet Making, Carpentry, Collision Repair Technology, Computer Maintenance Technology, Cosmetology, Digital Cinema, Esthetics, Extemporaneous Speaking, First AID/CPR, Job Interview, Job Skill Demonstration A, Job Skill Demonstration Open, Masonry, Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Pin Design, Plumbing,  Precision Machining Technology, Prepared Speech, Preschool Teaching Assistant, Quiz Bowl, Residential Wiring, Team Works Region, Team Works State, Technical Drafting, TV Production, Welding, and Welding Fabrication.

Each area of the competition was judged on a unique set of criteria specific to the topic.

The panel of judges consisted of instructors and staff members from the Floyd County College and Career Academy, Georgia Northwestern Technical College, other regional High Schools and colleges, as well as local business and industry partners.

“The students are really showcasing their leadership skills as well as their technical skills in this competition,” said Chesley Chambers, coordinator for the SkillsUSA Region 1 competition and metals instructor at the Floyd County College and Career Academy. “A lot of former students that have competed in SkillsUSA before have come back as judges. It’s a good opportunity for business and industry to give back to the students.”

Winners of the Region 1 competition will go on to compete at the state level.

With more than 300,000 members annually, SkillsUSA is organized into 17,000 sections and 52 state and territorial associations.

SkillsUSA prepares America’s high performance workers. It provides quality education experiences for students in leadership, teamwork, citizenship, and character development. It builds and reinforces self-confidence, work attitudes, and communications skills. It emphasizes total quality at work, high ethical standards, superior work skills, life-long education, and pride in the dignity of work. SkillsUSA also promotes understanding of the free enterprise system and involvement in community service activities. For more information, visit www.skillsusa.org.

SkillsUSA Region 1 Championship Winners:

Advertising Design

  1. Maddie Bumgardner, Calhoun HS
  2. Georgia Bronson, Dalton HS
  3. Peyton Wentz, Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy

Architectural Drafting (Prizes were donated by TriMec and Solid Works)

  1. Matthew Stag, Calhoun HS
  2. Ethan Quinton, Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe HS
  3. Kathryn Stapleton, Etowah HS

Automotive Refinishing Technology

  1. Luis Vicente, Cherokee HS

Automotive Service Technology

  1. Jacob Wright, Cherokee HS
  2. Matt Brown, Gordon Central HS
  3. Cameron McVicar, Etowah HS

Broadcast News Production

  1. Katya Gaffney, Corey McLaughlion, Madi Pasterz, Tommy Tillson – Cherokee County HS
  2. MacKenzie Dilbeck, Brandon Morell, Ashton Sawyer, Erin Walden – Heritage HS
  3. Brooke Davis, Jacob McVey, Katleigh Merrier, Brandon Weaver – Gilmer HS

 

Cabinet Making

  1. Cason Bedford, Cedartown HS
  2. Branton Bailey, Gordon Central HS
  3. Dewey Thomas, Cedartown HS

Carpentry (Prizes were donated by Rochester Concrete Construction)

  1. Jarod Rollins, Adairsville HS
  2. Logan Fincher, Cedartown HS
  3. Blake Green, Gordon Central HS

Collision Repair Technology

  1. Gabe Soto, Gordon Central HS
  2. Tristan Wright, Rockmart HS

Computer Maintenance Technology

  1. Alex Castro, Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy

 

Cosmetology

  1. Claudia Rediger, Cass HS
  2. McKenna Gulledge, Adairsville HS

Digital Cinema

  1. Jenna Murray, Xavier Owens – Etowah HS
  2. Conner Rentz, Alex Smith – Heritage HS
  3. Ian Garay, Cristina Monarez – Cherokee HS

Esthetics

  1. Kacey Bunch, Vanessa Hernandez – North Murray HS
  2. Ansley Canada, Majesta Herman – Cass HS
  3. Alexis Thomason, Megan Brock – NWGA College and Career Academy

Extemporanous Speaking

  1. Jessica Marchant, Gilmer HS
  2. Mark Bearden, Calhoun HS
  3. Brooke McArthur, Cherokee HS

First AID/CPR

  1. Courtney Bell, Lafayette HS
  2. Ashley Campbell, Cherokee HS
  3. Koral Arroyo, Dalton HS

Job Interview

  1. Jacob Engstrom, Gilmer HS
  2. Emiley Jenkins, Lafeyette HS
  3. Moriah Hardy, Calhoun HS

Job Skills Demonstration A

  1. Damon Rose, Fannin County HS
  2. Bailey Atkins, North Murray HS
  3. Jackson Echols, Gilmer HS

Job Skills Demonstration Open

  1. Edwinn Fraire, NWGA College and Career Academy
  2. Essie Martin, Gilmer HS
  3. Nikki Blankenship, North Murray HS

Masonry (Prizes were donated by Rochester Concrete Construction)

  1. Dallas Holcomb, Cedartown HS
  2. Gauge Cross, Gordon Central HS
  3. Patrick Cheramie, Ringgold HS

Opening and Closing Ceremonies

  1. Aliegh Beard, Jameila Dudley, Jessica Frank, Emily Johnson, Lindsey Radford, Rylee Romero, Nikki Watts – Cass HS

Pin Design

  1. Reece Dial, Lakeview Fort Oglethorpe HS
  2. Micah Cabeen, Heritage HS
  3. Kayla Hill, Woodland HS

Plumbing (Prizes were donated by Rochester Concrete Construction)

  1. Adam Thomas, Adairsville HS
  2. Rodney Smith, Cedartown HS
  3. TJ Middleton, Chattooga HS

Precision Machining Technology

  1. Alex Banks, Murray County HS
  2. Bradley Forman, Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy
  3. Tripp Ivie, Cedartown HS

Prepared Speech

  1. Byron Parris, Rockmart HS
  2. Diana Sanchez, Woodland HS
  3. Alyssa Courshon, Cherokee HS

Preschool Teaching Assistant

  1. Anna Walker, Pickens HS
  2. Anna Westmoreland, Gilmer HS
  3. Kaylee Holtzclaw, Murray County HS

Quiz Bowl

  1. Brice Chrisfield, Justin Higgins, Isaac Leal, Charles Tola, Joseph Watts – Heritage HS
  2. Shakeem Bisham, Ayton Hodges, Priya Patel, Loren Ware, John Weaver – Cherokee HS
  3. Albert Adhya, Ailani Ineda, Matthew Martinez, Elizabeth Ortega, Gerardo Paniagua – Dalton HS

Residential Wiring (Prizes were donated by Klein Tools)

  1. Jason Burdette, Adairsville HS
  2. Gabriel Smith, Calhoun HS
  3. Seth Mason, Cedartown HS

Team Works Region

  1. Carter Arrington, Arl Longmore, John Redd, Brandon Shuping, Logan Tolbert – Adairsville HS
  2. Jacob Garner, Tyler Hartley, Jacob Lowe, Levi McKinley, Mason Rigdon – Cass HS
  3. Justin Baker, Carson Lee, Jacob Thompson, Corey Vines, Stephen Walker – Cedartown HS

Team Works State (Top 10 Statewide Advance to State)

2nd Place – Adairsville HS – Carter Arrington, Arl Longmore, John Redd, Brandon Shuping, Logan Tolbert

6th Place – Cass HS – Jacob Garner, Tyler Hartley, Jacob Lowe, Levi McKinley, Mason Rigdon

8th Place – Cedartown HS – Carson Lee, Justin Baker, Jacob Thompson, Corey Vines, Stephen Walker

Technical Drafting (Prizes donated by TriMec and Solid Works)

  1. Wesley Summers, Etowah HS
  2. Zachary Van Dine, Sequoyah HS
  3. Christian Sawyer, Heritage HS

TV Production

  1. Andrew Besh, David Besh – Heritage HS
  2. Ryan Harris, James Stevens – Etowah HS

Welding (Prizes were donated by Welding Equipment & Supply and UA Local 72)

  1. Ryan Fincher, Cedartown HS
  2. Jacob DeBerry, Chattooga HS
  3. Matt Beard, Floyd County Schools College and Career Academy

Welding Fabrication (First place advance to state)

  1. Andrew Daniel, Austin Guice, Corey Knight, Chase Manning – Cedartown HS
  2. Sierrah Gani, Madison Healy, Savannah Healy, Logan Smith – Cass HS
  3. Michael Leming, Taylor Mitchel, Christian Turkett, Austin Wilson – Chattooga HS

Georgia Northwestern Technical College 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. Approximately 16,000 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.

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