Whatever you may say about UVU students enrolled in the trade, technical, and skilled service professional programs, they’ve proved again that they are not to be messed with.

UVU students recently returned home from the 45th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, Mo., with 11 national medals and some bragging rights. Working against the clock and each other, participants proved their skills in categories such as Audio-Radio Production, Criminal Justice, Diesel Equipment Technology, Engineering Technology, Medical Terminology, Architectural Design, Firefighting, Industrial Motor Control and Robotics.

“We are extremely proud of UVU students and how they perform when they compete head to head with other colleges and universities from around the state and nation,” said Darin Taylor, UVU SkillsUSA director. “When our students can go back to Kansas City and compete against the very best from each state, and continually come out on top, I think that says a great deal about the quality of students, faculty and programs we have here at UVU.”

Out of the 25 competitions that UVU students competed in on the national level, they earned an astounding 11 medals.

“This type of performance on a national college/university level is beyond outstanding,” Taylor said. “To bring it into perspective, there were 43 states that did not win as many post-secondary college medals as UVU did as an individual institution.”

The awards ceremony held on Friday, June 26, brought together more than 15,000 students, parents, teachers and industry representatives. Top competitors were awarded gold, silver or bronze medallions. Winning competitors earned scholarships and/or tools and goodies related to their trade provided by industry sponsors.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that serves more than 307,000 high school and college students annually. Since its inception in 1967, the organization has grown from 54 competitors in three contests to more than 5,400 competitors in 91 hands-on skill and leadership contests.

The SkillsUSA Championships is the premier showcase of technical and career education in the nation, and has the support of more than 1,100 corporations, trade associations, business and labor unions.

Prominent industrial and technical experts from related fields donate time and expertise to develop, administer and judge the skills contests using criteria set by the industry. SkillsUSA believes this to be the greatest day of corporate volunteerism in America every year at an estimated cost of $35 million.

UVU winners

UVU’s gold medal winners include the team of Skylar Haws and Bryan Sansom in Audi-Radio Production; the team of Shane Foerster, Todd Gardner, Cody Hamblin, Brittany Lewis, Jared Lewis, Lynae Malchus and Kylie West in Chapter Business Procedure; Brett Christensen in Criminal Justice; Casey Muhlestein in Diesel Equipment Technology; the team of Alan Gilbert, Daniel Nay and Sean Peterson in Engineering Technology; and Zac Carney in Medical Terminology. Silver medal winners include Emberly Valgardson in Architectural Drafting, Joy Stearns in Firefighting, Tom Gutierrez in Industrial Motor Control, and the team of Carl Ballard and Benjamin Booth in Mechatronics. Kimberly Ashby received a bronze medal in First Aid/CPR. Others who received recognition were Ash Coleman who placed 4th in Culinary Arts, Trent Bates who placed 4th in Photography, Tyler Stone who placed 4th in Power Equipment Technology, and Brad Trinnaman who placed 4th in Screenprinting.