Five Penn College Students Earn Gold Medals at SkillsUSA Nationals

Published 07.24.2015

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Five students from Pennsylvania College of Technology earned first-place medals during the 51st annual National SkillsUSA Conference, held recently in Louisville, Kentucky.

Bringing home the gold – and bringing to 40 the number of top Penn College winners in national competition over the years – were Matthew R. Harman Jr., of Sellersville; Randall J. Haynes, of Julian; and Ian M. Dorman, of Mill Hall, who competed as a team in the Automated Manufacturing Technology category; Kyle T. Potts, of Colver, Technical Drafting; and Bradley L. Hayden, of Milton, Vermont, Welding.

Penn College's SkillsUSA contingent recently returned from national competition with five first-place medals. Front row, from left: Kyle T. Potts, of Colver; Randall J. Haynes, Julian; Ian M. Dorman, Mill Hall; and Bradley L. Hayden, Milton, Vermont. Second row, from left: Matthew R. Harman Jr., Sellersville; Jerome T. Czachor, Dickson City; Kenneth J. "Jeremy" Williams, Westminster, Maryland; and adviser James N. Colton II. Instructor D. Michael Damiani is in the back row.“I could not be more proud of these students and the support of the faculty and staff in preparation for this event,” said David R. Cotner, dean of industrial, computing and engineering technologies. “To compete at this level is a testament to their skill and dedication to their craft and a great representation of what Penn College students can do.”

The college has had near-steady success at SkillsUSA; in the Technical Drafting category alone, a Penn College student placed first in two of the past three competitions.

Hayden, who is eligible to compete for a spot on the World Skills Team in 2017, is the college’s first-ever national gold medalist in Welding.

“I'm very proud of the automated manufacturing group,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college’s SkillsUSA adviser. “The Tuesday portion of the competition eliminated the field to five remaining teams. The guys made the cut into the finals on Thursday. The team suffered a setback when their computer crashed, causing them to lose about 45 minutes. Even after all the issues, the guys were still able to come out on top.”

In addition to the medalists, students Jerome T. Czachor, of Dickson City, finished sixth in Information Technology Services, and Kenneth J. “Jeremy” Williams, of Westminster, Maryland, was 16th in the Diesel Equipment Technology competition.

“With the exception of Randy Haynes, all the students will be back next year and with hopes of either repeating or improving their finishes,” Colton said. “Pennsylvania, as a whole, brought home 22 national medals (including high school students who will be joining Penn College in the fall). I look forward to next year and hope we can grow the Skills group.”

Accompanying Colton and the students was D. Michael Damiani, aviation maintenance instructor.

For information about “degrees that work” in Penn College’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.

For information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.