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Meet the 2021 FutureTechs Rock Award Winners

Congratulations to this year's Grand Prize and Category Winners!

Scroll down to learn more about the Grand Prize Winner, Runner Up and Category Winners and why they were nominated for this year's Awards.

 

2021 Grand Prize Winner:2021 FTR_Grand Prize Graphic@3x

Meet Zander
 

Zander’s instructors describe his curiosity and interest in vehicles as “profound.” He regularly asks more information than the course requires, and spends time helping his classmates understand the material. A two time regional SkillsUSA winner, Zander is determined to one day become the Chief Engineer of Corvette.

In his own words: “I have been committed to the automotive industry as a whole my entire life. I've been repairing or modifying my personal Corvette for the past three years and have been able to relate everything I learn with that to autotech and vice versa. I've rebuilt a 4-speed transmission from a bunch of scrap parts and swapped it into my originally automatic equipped Corvette. I've also used my autotech experience to help me design a rig and test a few cylinder head designs and conditions on a flow bench for my senior project. I also swapped the best performing heads onto my Corvette. I've also replaced engines on a few personal vehicles in order to make a profit on sale. I love everything automotive and I'm determined to lead our industry into the future.”

"After graduation, I plan to go to Michigan Technological University to study Mechanical Engineering. After that, I am determined to become the Chief Engineer of Corvette. This award will help me to get the theoretics learned in college courses into the real world and help to design world-class supercars. Many engineers do not have any technical education/skills and it shows when working on real projects instead of textbook problems. I am hoping this award will be able to set me apart from the rest."

2021 Grand Prize Runner Up2021 FTR_Grand Prize Runner up Graphic@3x

Meet Brooklyn
 

Brooklyn has spent her senior year of high school working at a local Ford dealership, and is set to start an apprenticeship with one of the shop’s Master Diesel Technicians after she graduates this spring. Brooklyn has already earned a number of certifications, and plans to attend a Ford ASSET program after her apprenticeship.

In her own words: “As the only female technician where I work, you must have a positive attitude, a strong work ethic, and the ability to pick up new skills quickly. I have broken stereotypes and made a lasting impression on my coworkers. I have earned the respect of the master techs by my willingness to complete even the most undesired of jobs and by my hard work. I have tried to perform every task given to me to the best of my ability and am constantly desiring to better my skills. I am passionate and motivated to succeed. I am willing to put the effort and time into becoming a skilled technician.”

"Throughout my senior year of high school, I have been working for Kings Ford Dealership. I was granted an apprenticeship under one of the master diesel techs after I graduate from high school this year. I plan on attending Ford's ASSET training program and continuing my future career with Ford. The potential awards would greatly assist me with acquiring tools and receiving much-needed training. This would offer me the opportunity to jump-start my career as a female automotive technician and the confidence I need to succeed in a competitive field."

2021 Category Winners

2021 FTR_Automotive_Jana_Warnke_210502

 

Meet Jana
 

Jana’s dream has always been to become an automotive technician, but she was discouraged from pursuing it her entire life. Now, after 18 years of raising a family through her husband’s military deployments and a recent battle with a serious illness, Jana will be graduating technical school at the top of her class later this year.

In her own words: “After waiting 18 years to pursue my dream job while my husband deployed and I raised my kids, often alone, (during which I owned a salon and taught at a beauty school) I am finally able to put myself first, I was always told my dreams to be a tech were selfish and I was even laughed at! Only a few years ago I was very sick and was very nearly wheelchair bound, and have been on a major life overhaul journey to embrace my passion while I am still healthy and active. There was a time I could not even drive a car and now I am living my dreams with extraordinary gratitude for doing the most simple tasks like changing oil or helping neighbors and friends replace parts on their cars. I was just offered a summer job as crew chief for a 1300hp race car! I gladly accepted that opportunity as a way to grow in the industry and widen the path for female technicians to have more opportunities, acceptance, and exposure.”

"After graduation I have been accepted into an apprenticeship program and will begin immediately. I am also considering going back to school for restoration if I can make it work with my schedule. This award would be a spring board toward my goals, it would allow me to invest in my future by purchasing tools and may even help with tuition if I am able to continue my education. Since I am staring over at the age of 37, and it looks more and more like we will evolve toward electric vehicles soon, I would love to one day work for a museum restoring and maintaining our petrol vehicle history, as a steward to the true art form of American muscle, while highlighting what women have done within the field to grow and influence the automotive industry. Knowing what it’s like looking for guidance as a student, and also being a natural teacher, I will be sure to use whatever I have to mentor and build community within the field."

2021-FTR_Aviation_Alexander_Fernandez_210503

 

Meet Alexander
 

Alexander earned 8 ASE certifications and the Yamaha ITOS certification this academic year, the most ever held by a student in his county. He has enlisted in the United States Navy as an Aviation Machinist’s Mate, where he will earn experience and licenses that will one day launch his civilian aviation technician career.

In his own words: “I have already enlisted into the Navy where my rate is an AD (aviation machinist mate.) Aviation Machinist's Mates are United States Navy aircraft engine mechanics that inspect, adjust, test, repair, and overhaul aircraft engines and propellers... After I get out of my service, I'll have my airframe and powerplant license so I can work on civilian aircraft.”

2021-FTR_Collision_Repair_Alfonso_Porter_210504

 

Meet Alfonso
 

Alfonso couldn’t decide on a career after his military service, until someone asked him “What would you do even if you weren’t paid?” He instantly knew he wanted to work on cars, and has overcome hardships including the 2021 Texas winter storm to pursue his technician career. Alfonso plans to one day open a shop of his own.

In his own words: “After my time in the military people often asked me, "What would you do if you weren't being paid for it?" My answer was anything that had to do with cars. My plan after school is to work in a collision shop in order to gain the real-world experience needed to open my own shop.”

"Collision Repair is what I enjoy doing. It is what I would do in my spare time. It's probably my most frequently searched YouTube topic. My discipline learned through military service combined with the skills learned through Universal Technical Institute mean that I will have not only the perseverance and discipline to properly run a business, but the skill and creativity to become an influencer in the industry."

2021 FTR_Diesel_Off_Road_Wyatt_Brink_210502

 

Meet Wyatt
 

Wyatt has a passion for transportation. He has taken every shop class his school offers, works as a mechanic’s assistant and also participates in Future Farmers of America Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems competitions. Wyatt placed 7th in Washington State’s individual competition, and his team won the state and placed 8th nationally.

In his own words: “I've been homeschooled since 5th grade and when I got to my high school years, I joined the FFA chapter and have loved it ever since. I have participated in Ag mechanics all 4 years and have placed 7th individually in Washington state and also was on the National FFA winning team for Ag mechanics where we placed 8th. Along with my contests, I also have built a garden shed for a local community gardening club and was recognized for that. I would also volunteer at the FFA chapters concession stand whenever it was being used and enjoyed helping with that. Joining the FFA also allowed me to get a very good recommendation from my advisor to get a job. I started working at Maberry Packing, which is a very large local berry farm, as a mechanic assistant. It was only supposed to be a summer job but they enjoyed my work ethic and ability to learn so they kept me on after harvest ended and I've had that job for 3 years now and have gained a lot of experience from it that I don't think I could have gotten anywhere else.”

"After I graduate, I will be attending Universal Technical Institutes Diesel Mechanics course and also taking their Cummins engines class. Once I have finished college, I plan to move back to my home town and find a job around here locally. This award will help me achieve my goals by helping with my overall tuition/student debt and with some of it being paid off it will allow me to hit the ground running even more after I graduate.""

2021-FTR_Marine_Watercraft_Aaliyah_Hickey_210503

 

Meet Aaliyah
 

Aaliyah is making waves, even in the first semester of school. She placed 2nd in her state’s SkillsUSA competition, and is described by her instructors as “one of the most dedicated students,” who “refuses to quit and keeps moving forward.” Aaliyah’s goal is to open a marine and motorcycle shop of her own.

In her own words: “I started with collision repair and soon realized I love the collision part of the class. I worked for Fine’s Auto Body for a year and came to the decision I want to further my education and learn about boats and motorcycles. My ultimate goal is to own a garage of my own specializing in all I’ve learned. I also plan on moving to Florida because they have more job opportunities in the motorcycle and marine field. I’d like to be able to run my business and work on cars if I have the free time. This scholarship... could really launch my life and future."

"I’ve competed in SkillsUSA and placed 2nd in our state. I was just happy to place because I competed in my first semester. The experience overall was one big learning process which I loved. I learned so much just by doing SkillsUSA, and I’m happy I chose to compete. Hopefully next year I’ll be taking first place!"

2021-FTR_Motorcycle_ATV_Frederick-Wooten_210503

 

Meet Frederick
 

Frederick is opening a new chapter in his life as a motorcycle technician. A disabled veteran, Frederick plans to use his technician training to open an independent motorcycle repair business. He also has a passion for supporting others, and aspires to help other disabled veterans enter motorcycle technician careers.

In his own words: “I would like to open my own motorcycle repair/service shop and this award would greatly assist in getting the extra tools, service machines (tire changer, bleeder, lifts) needed for an independent motorcycle repair business.”

"I have maintained an [A-level] GPA as well as perfect attendance. I was nominated to join the Kappa Beta Professional organization. I consistently look for extra information pertaining to whatever manufacturer I am working on and finally, as a disabled vet, I want to assist others in getting into the motorcycle tech world."

2021 FTR_Restoration_Justin_Arace_210502

 

Meet Justin
 

Justin holds a Bachelor’s degree in mathematical engineering, but after working a desk job he decided that career was not for him. Instead, Justin opted to go back to school to pursue his lifelong passion for automotive restoration. Justin plans to become a master restoration technician, and one day even own a shop of his own.

In his own words: “I am currently attending Central Carolina Community College where I am enrolled in the Automotive Restoration program. I will complete this program in July 2021. Upon graduation, I will seek employment from a restoration shop where I can hone my skills and take steps toward becoming a master restoration technician. After I have years of experience under my belt and become skilled in the trade, I plan on opening my own restoration shop, which has always been a dream of mine. This award will help me achieve my goals because it will give me a head start in my career, by allowing me to make connections with those already in the industry and those who support the TechForce Foundation. It will also help me financially, as I am paying out of pocket for my program, and every bit of scholarship that I receive helps me save the money I will need to achieve my dream.”

“In May of 2018, I graduated from Siena College where I received a Bachelor's degree in Mathematics. After Graduation, I began working at a desk job crunching numbers in spreadsheets for most of the day. I knew from a young age that I wanted to pursue a trade in the automotive field, but I was always pushed by my parents and guidance counselors to go to a traditional 4-year school to get a degree. However, after working a desk job and not enjoying what I was doing, I decided it was time to chase my dreams and do something that I loved. So, I moved from Massachusetts to North Carolina and enrolled in Central Carolina Community College Automotive Restoration program to begin chasing my lifelong dream. By learning early on what I did not want to do with my career, it made me realize that I have to put 100% into my passion so that I can fulfill my dreams. I believe that I have what it takes to be a top FutureTech because of my drive for and commitment to this industry. Every day I am pushing myself to become a better tech and although I make mistakes, I am able to learn from those mistakes and better myself throughout my education and training. There hasn't been a single day where I regret chasing this dream and I truly believe I will always have this passion for the automotive industry.”

2021-FTR_Welding&CNC_Martin_Witt_210504

 

Meet Martin
 

Martin is a determined individual committed to becoming an automotive welding technician. After a career as an executive producer Martin made the decision to reinvent himself, learn a new skill, and pursue his dream of designing and building custom cars at his own shop.

In his own words: “Before I started classes, seeing efficiencies and inefficiencies has always been something that has come naturally to me. In learning a new trade here with welding, I've appreciated the classic foundation of a trade that has been perfected over the years but I'm most excited about pushing the boundaries of what can be done to continue to progress the practice.”

"After completion of UTI's welding program, I plan to join the work force at an automotive design shop to continue to learn so that I can follow my dream of building and designing my own custom cars at my own shop."

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