Berks County Team Wins Automotive Competition

Published 05.22.2009


A team of automotive technology students from Berks Career and Technology Center, Leesport, won the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition recently held on the Pennsylvania College of Technology campus.

The West Campus team of Jacob Hetrick, a senior at Governor Mifflin High School, and Matt Siegfried, a senior at Tulpehocken High School finished first in a field of 20 contestants in the state finals held near the College Avenue Labs. They were awarded scholarships to Penn College and a number of other institutions, as well as a trophy and many valuable automotive tools and prizes.

Prior to the contest, students had to take a written exam to determine who would qualify to compete. In the "hands on" competition that Hetrick and Siegfried won, new Ford vehicles were intentionally "bugged" by Penn College faculty so that each team had identical malfunctions to diagnose and repair. In order to finish in first place, the students had to complete the repairs with the highest-quality workmanship in the lowest total time.

The team instructed by Lewis Davis and sponsored by Masano Ford in Reading advances to the National Competition, to be held June 14-16 in Dearborn, Mich.

"It has been a pleasure to make a difference in their future. I tell them to never, never, never give up!" Davis said. "Get the car finished right the first time!"

The Ford/AAA competition is held nationwide for 11th- and 12th-grade students in secondary schools and colleges that offer courses in automotive technology; its main goal is to prepare and recruit students for rewarding careers in the automotive service field.

As an added incentive during this 60th-anniversary year of the competition, the nation's best young automotive technicians will receive a dream learning experience: a week behind the scenes with the defending Daytona 500 champion, Roush Fenway Racing's No. 17 Dewalt Sprint Cup Series team led by crew chief Drew Blickensderfer.

During the week of July 27, the national winners will "job shadow" the race team leading up to and during the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway. Dewalt will donate three sets of tools to the winning students and their instructor to help jump start their careers as the country's best young automotive technicians.