Joel Hartstack (pictured in photo above, at far right), of Clarinda, a May 2017 Southwestern Community College (SWCC) auto collision repair/refinish graduate, was named the country’s 2017 Collision Repair Technology Champion at the National SkillsUSA Championships in Louisville, KY, from June 18-23.
This is the second-time in SWCC history that a student has earned a national SkillsUSA championship title. Just last year, Daniel Leonard, of Mount Ayr, a 2016 electrical technology graduate at SWCC, finished in the top spot nationally in electrical construction wiring.
Hartstack earned a diploma in auto collision repair/refinish from SWCC in June 2016 and then continued on to earn his Associate of Applied Science degree in auto collision repair/refinish in May 2017. He is a 2012 graduate of Clarinda High School.
Other SWCC students qualifying and competing at the 2017 National SkillsUSA Championships included:
• Cory Marquardt, of Creston, electrical construction wiring (secondary division)
• Malachi Hayes, of Adair, electrical construction wiring (post-secondary division)
• Brett Schafroth, of Orient, carpentry (secondary division)
The students were accompanied to the National SkillsUSA Championships by Jeff Magneson, auto collision repair/refinish instructor, and Kyle Harvey, carpentry and building trades instructor.
During the SkillsUSA Championships, more than 6,000 contestants competed in 100 events. According to its Web site, SkillsUSA is a multi-million-dollar event that occupies a space equivalent to 16 football fields. The purpose of the championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.