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Georgia Northwestern Reloads For Title Run

SkillsUSA National Stage Becoming Common Place for Northwest GA College

(Northwest Georgia) – After taking home a bronze medal and multiple Top-10 finishes in the SkillsUSA National Competition in Louisville, Kentucky last summer, Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC) has an entirely new team of collegiate specialists with their eyes on a championship.

“We’ve had really good showings on the state and national level of SkillsUSA over the years,” said GNTC SkillsUSA Coordinator Missy McClain. “The 2019 team really feels like it can perform just as well, if not better. We may be looking at a very successful competition season.”

Chattooga County, Georgia native Taylor Eagle placed third in the nation last summer at the National Leadership and Skills Conference, site of the SkillsUSA National Championship. Eagle competed in the Residential Systems and Installation Maintenance category.

“Taylor Eagle was a GNTC Bronze Medalist from the 2018 national championships in Louisville, Kentucky. The Chattooga County native competed in the Residential Systems and Installation Maintenance category.”

In 2017, Cedartown, Georgia native Ryan Fincher became Georgia Northwestern’s first-ever national champion in SkillsUSA. Fincher took home top honors in the welding category. Just one week ago, Fincher competed in a national competition in Huntsville, Alabama that earned his spot as the SkillsUSA World Team Welder. The team will compete in the WorldSkills Competition taking place in Kazan, Russia the week of August 22. Fincher was also a two-time high school (Cedartown HS, GA) state champion in the same category.

Members qualifying for the Georgia Northwestern SkillsUSA team, which will be competing for national spots at the Georgia SkillsUSA Competition March 21-22 in Atlanta, Georgia, are as follows:

Teamworks (Construction)

Jesse Flanagan – Polk County

Joel Paez – Whitfield County

Gabriel Lopez – Bartow County

Ryan Banks – Whitfield County

Welding Fabrication

Dakota Green – Gordon County

Luke Shehee – Catoosa County

Timothy Myers – Catoosa County

Welding

Jack Atwood III – Catoosa County

Automotive Service Technology

Brandon Neighbors – Catoosa County

Electrical Construction Wiring

Ethan Mitchell – Gordon County

Industrial Motor Controls

Norberto Castaneda – Floyd County


Practical Nursing

Brittany Square – Henry County

Kimberlee Hall – Gordon County

Kami Griswold – Bartow County

Medical Assisting

Ashley Hopper – Floyd County

Autumn Donaldson – Whitfield County

Internet of Things & Smart Home

Cole Allen – Chattooga County

Extemporaneous Speaking

Julianna Matthews – Lee County

Job Interview

Amy Waters – Chattooga County

Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration

Chris Roberson – Floyd County

CNC Milling Specialist

Joshua Wyatt – Chattooga County

Medical Terminology

Josh Barlow – Floyd County

Vanessa Colgrove – Chattooga County

Latrina Travis – Cobb County

Medical Math

Chelsea Price – Chattooga County

Jessica Fincher – Polk County

Kyara Massey – Floyd County

Jasmine Poindexter – Cobb County

For those who place high enough to qualify, they will earn spots on the Nationals SkillsUSA Team representing the state of Georgia. Now, in its 55th year, the SkillsUSA National Competition will once again take place in Louisville, Kentucky during the association’s National Leadership and Skills Conference, June 24-28.


Contestants on the state and national stage of SkillsUSA compete in more than 100 categories ranging from Advertising Design to Welding and everything in between. SkillsUSA is a national, nonprofit student organization that has developed more than 10 million workers through active partnerships between employers and educators across the nation.


For more information on Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s SkillsUSA organization, you can call 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 (TCSG) and an equal opportunity institute.


GNTC offers more than 200 programs online and on-campus. Campuses are located in Ringgold (Catoosa County Campus), Rome (Floyd County Campus), Calhoun (Gordon County Campus), Rockmart (Polk County Campus), Rock Spring (Walker County Campus), and Dalton (Whitfield Murray Campus).


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, 12,785 people benefited from GNTC’s credit and noncredit programs. With an annual credit enrollment of 7,499 students, GNTC is the largest college in Northwest Georgia. GNTC has an additional enrollment of 5,286 people through adult education, continuing education, business and industry training, and Georgia Quick Start. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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.

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