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News @ PSU

News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Technology student named national SkillsUSA president

To his technology professors, Jack Frederick is a dream come true.

Growing up, Frederick first got his mechanical feet wet through his family’s plumbing and heating business. He wasn’t even old enough to drive when he bought, remodeled, and sold a ’77 K-5 Chevy Blazer. And before he finished high school, he was working as a service technician for a BMW dealership in his hometown of Wichita, learning the ins and outs of automotive repair.

Looking back, his appointment last week as the president of the college/postsecondary division of SkillsUSA seems like an achievement just waiting to happen.

“This is absolutely unbelievable,” said Frederick, a sophomore automotive technology major at PSU who first got involved with the national organization as a high school senior. “I feel like I’ve completed a longtime goal.”

Frederick was elected as one of five officers for his division at the National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City on June 29, where officer hopefuls participated in campaigns that included speeches, Q&A sessions with the audience, and a SkillsUSA knowledge test. Last week, he was elected president by his co-officers at a training conference in Leesburg, Va.

SkillsUSA is a national organization that partners students, teachers, and industry members with the goal of creating a more skilled and leadership-focused workforce. With more than 280,000 student members and approximately 15,000 teacher and advisory members, the organization covers most disciplines. Officers for the two divisions – high school and college/postsecondary – are selected each year.

It’s not only an honor for Frederick, who revived the PSU SkillsUSA chapter when he came to Pitt State last year (the chapter hadn’t been active since 2002), but for the entire College of Technology.

“Ever since Jack came to our school I’ve been totally impressed by his leadership and willingness to try to make things better,” said Ron Downing, assistant professor for automotive technology and faculty adviser to the PSU SkillsUSA group. “He’s always calling me with great ideas. As a teacher, it gives me a new energy, because he’s really a phenomenal young man. This is a boost for PSU.”

Although he’ll be juggling classes while traveling across the country for SkillsUSA events next year, accepting the presidency does mean Frederick will have to sit out on some things. Until his term ends next summer, Frederick can’t compete in the organization’s competitions, despite his history of top scores at the national level. But taking on the challenges of this new role, he says, is worth the compromise.

“This has been a big confidence booster for me,” he said. “Being involved in this organization has opened so many doors. My biggest goal now is to just give back to PSU.”
(Photo by Lloyd Wolf for SkillsUSA)

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