CRESTON — Southwestern Community College auto collision repair/refinish students Garrett Hogue of Lenox and Zach Mullen of New Market took home first place honors at the Iowa SkillsUSA 2014 competition in Ankeny on Fri., May 2, 2014.
Hogue was named gold medalist in collision repair technology and Mullen was named gold medalist in automotive refinishing technology. They will now head to represent Iowa at the national competition, which will be held during the National Leadership and Skills Conference, June 23-27, 2014, in Kansas City, MO. The two SWCC students were honored at the state contest for outstanding academic achievement as well, due to maintaining 3.5 or higher cumulative college grade point averages.
Hogue is a May 2010 graduate of Lenox High School. He received his diploma in collision repair/refinish in June 2013 and his associate of applied science degree in auto collision repair/refinish in May 2014. He is the son of Matt and Coleen Hogue of Lenox.
Mullen, a 2012 graduate of Clarinda High School, received his diploma in collision repair/refinish from SWCC in June 2013. He earned his diploma in collision repair/refinish in June 2013 and his associate of applied science degree in auto collision repair/refinish in May 2014. He is the son of Bill Mullen and Diane Mullen, both of New Market.
Year after year, the SWCC collision repair/refinish students have been outstanding competitors in these statewide and national events. The community colleges of Iowa may enter one student in each of the two SkillsUSA contest categories—collision repair technology and automotive refinishing technology. For the past five years, SWCC students have come away as statewide winners in at least one of the categories. At nationals, the SWCC students compete against champions from all 50 states. Again, at nationals, SWCC students have placed in each of the last five years of competition.
Southwestern is one of 11 community colleges in Iowa with automotive collision repair programs. SWCC’s auto collision repair/refinish program is one of two programs in Iowa to have the ASE (The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence)/NATEF (National Automotive Technician Education Foundation) certification and the only program in the state to have the I-CAR (Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair) Gold Class designation. SWCC's auto collision repair/refinish program is based on the I-CAR Enhanced Delivery curriculum and offers hands-on experiences in the classroom. Courses are taught by ASE-certified instructors who have platinum level I-CAR designations.