Bobcats Go Gold at SkillsUSA Georgia

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The Bobcats suited up for the competition of the year in Atlanta, Georgia this past weekend. After a record-setting performance at SkillsUSA Georgia last year, Georgia Northwestern Technical College’s team managed to raise the bar a little higher at the professional skills competition in 2018.

GNTC competitors won gold medals in 10 total categories this year, besting the 2017 mark of eight total first-place finishes for the college. “As President of GNTC, I am very proud of the performance of our students at the 2018 SkillsUSA State of Georgia competition,” said Georgia Northwestern Technical College President Pete McDonald. “Seventeen students from GNTC have qualified to compete at the National SkillsUSA competition this Summer.” The Bobcats qualified 43 students to compete in 20 different categories at the state-level event.

GNTC Welding student Jacob Hargrove, center, stretches out his arms in victory after being named the gold medal winner in this past week’s SkillsUSA Georgia Welding competition. The Catoosa County, Georgia resident is one of 17 GNTC students who have qualified to compete against the best in the country at their professions at the National SkillsUSA Competition in Louisville, Kentucky this June.
GNTC Welding student Jacob Hargrove, center, stretches out his arms in victory after being named the gold medal winner in this past week’s SkillsUSA Georgia Welding competition. The Catoosa County, Georgia resident is one of 17 GNTC students who have qualified to compete against the best in the country at their professions at the National SkillsUSA Competition in Louisville, Kentucky this June.

On March 24, the Bobcats SkillsUSA team brought home gold in half of the categories in which they competed: Brandy LeVan (Catoosa County, GA), Prepared Speech; Chris Roberson (Floyd County, GA), Sheet Metal; Jacob Hargrove (Catoosa County, GA), Welding; Tristin Bethune (Walker County, GA), Automotive Service Technology; Taylor Eagle (Chattooga County, GA), Residential Systems Installation and Maintenance; Brandon Battles (Chattooga County, GA), Industrial Motor Controls; Patricia Escutia (Polk County, GA), Medical Assisting; Stephen Bottoms (Floyd County, GA), Nathan Rittweger (Bartow County, GA), and Tucker Tumlin (Floyd County, GA), Welding Fabrication Team; Marvin Pointer (Polk County, GA), Noah Ranels (Gordon County, GA), Logan Thomas (Gordon County, GA), and George Soto (Whitfield County, GA), TeamWorks; and Beck Maxwell (Bartow County, GA), Jake Woodall (Floyd County, GA), and Derek Walck (Floyd County, GA), Engineering Technology/Design.

Leading the way for the GNTC teams was the GNTC TeamWorks squad. The construction-based crew competed at SkillsUSA Georgia three consecutive years. And, three consecutive times, the TeamWorks entry brought home the gold. “We truly felt we had a great chance at turning a lot of heads in many of the categories on the state level,” said Missy Mclain, Georgia Northwestern Technical College SkillsUSA Coordinator. “We have many incredibly well-trained and talented young men and women. Thiscompetition really allowed us to showcase these students.”

The national SkillsUSA competition will be held during the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Louisville, Kentucky the week of June 25-29. More than 16,000 students, instructors, and business recruiters and partners are expected to be in attendance.

Bringing home silver medals for the Bobcats at SkillsUSA Georgia were Bo Dooley (Gordon County, GA), Electrical Construction Wiring; Autumn Tomlinson (Polk County, GA), Cosmetology; Audrey Andrews (Paulding County, GA), Barbering; and Josh Barlow (Floyd County, GA), Medical Terminology.

Earning bronze medals for their third-place finishes at the state competition were Amanda Teeters (Walker County, GA), Pin Design; Melvin Mitchell (Bartow County, GA), Job Demonstration; and Kimberly Kelly (Floyd County, GA), Briska Bailey (Bartow County, GA), Savannah Almond (Floyd County, GA), and Ariel Crider (Floyd County, GA), Health Knowledge Bowl.

Also competing for GNTC in the SkillsUSA this past week were Maegan Gibson (Haralson County, GA), Medical Math; Courtney Compton (Douglas County, GA), Medical Math; Shanna Ely (Floyd County, GA) Medical Math; Amber Wilson (Cherokee County, GA), Medical Assisting; Erica Brown (Polk County, GA), Medical Terminology; Van Wright (Floyd County, GA); Medical Terminology; Raphaella Hawkins (Floyd County, GA), Health Occupations Professional Portfolio; Josh Embree (Floyd County, GA), First Aid/CPR; Cynthia Kirk (Polk County, GA), Related Technical Math; Corey Knight (Polk County, GA), HVAC; Austin Vinson (Polk County, GA), Mechatronics; Yony Escalante (Polk County, GA), Mechatronics; Austin Tapp (Chattooga County, GA), CNC Milling Specialist; Geovani Ramirez (Whitfield County, GA), Information Technology Systems; Austin Boyd (Floyd County, GA), Automotive Refinishing; and Cesar Bejarano (Whitfield County, GA), Automotive Refinishing.

GNTC's SkillsUSA chapter also earned a Silver Chapter of Distinction award from the state’s Chapter of Excellence Program. SkillsUSA Georgia judges also awarded the Bobcat chapter of the organization the title of Quality Chapter. “I would also like to recognize the outstanding job done by our faculty advisors to mentor the students,” added McDonald. “Preparing them not only to succeed in the SkillsUSA competition, but also to prepare them for successful careers in the future.”

GNTC offers more than 200 other 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, 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. You can also see more information at the college’s social media sites Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Wordpress, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram. GNTC is a unit of the Technical College System of Georgia and an Equal Opportunity Institution.

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Don Foley

Assistant Director, Marketing and PR