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2023 FutureTechs Rock Awards Open January 23. View the 2023 Awards website today at TechForce.org/FutureTechsRock


Meet the 2022 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.


2022 Grand Prize Winner:

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Meet Jacob

Jacob is a transportation renaissance man. He is strong academically, good at working with his hands, has a bit of creative genius and is admired by his peers.

After finding success in his high school’s automotive program, Jacob dual-enrolled in a welding program. He is often in the shop an hour before school starts, stays through lunch, and spends several hours in the shop after school. He also finds time to run his own landscaping business and even hires his classmates to work on his crew.

Jacob’s contagious enthusiasm has inspired many underclassmen in his program who often take time just to watch him weld and work on cars. Jacob volunteers as an automotive teaching assistant and helps students with labs and during extended study. Many ask him to teach them or help with projects. Jacob has even been able to teach his instructors a few things about fabrication and welding.

Jacob is driven, and that drive has helped him overcome a recent long term hospitalization. With grit and tenacity he clawed his way back, and was able to join his class in displaying a vehicle at the 2022 Chicago World of Wheels. One hot rod fabricator was so impressed by Jacob’s work that he was offered an opportunity to join in on an upcoming project!

In their own words:

“I love welding because it makes me feel happy and relaxed," says Jacob. "I have a sense of freedom and happiness… [I] am inspired to be a welder because I love making my own products and fabricating [car] parts... and teaching new people how to do what I love. My career goal is to get welding certified and own my business after high school.”

Jacob credits his twin brother and fellow Category Winner (Motorsports) Joshua and his family with sparking his passion for welding, "My family has a project [car]... a '67 [Chevrolet] Camero that we have been slowly working on. That's where it all started... building that together as a family."

2022 Grand Prize Runner Up


Diesel Off-Road Category Winner

Universal Technical Institute
Avondale, AZ

Meet Joshua

Joshua loves wrenching and is constantly learning. He strives to become an expert in each class topic. Nothing takes priority over Joshua's schooling and experience. He hasn’t missed a single class throughout his training, carries a 4.0 GPA and has been named student of the course in 12 of the courses he has completed.

Joshua received these awards without seeking them out. His nominator describes him as a humble individual who “just does his best and appreciates when he receives the award.”

An Eagle Scout, Joshua shares his love of wrenching with anyone who will listen. He serves as a mentor to many of his classmates, and helps his lab groups understand the course content when they may need extra help. He often is found fixing cars for free for others in the community because he loves the work and the satisfaction that comes from serving others.

Joshua currently works as a technician, and is eager to advance in the industry. He is scheduled to graduate in July 2022, and is already enrolled in a Cummings Diesel Power Generation course that starts the same month.

In their own words:

“I was in college when COVID hit and I ended up coming home and finishing my freshman year online… This triggered a reflection… [on] what I wanted my career to look like and if college was even a part of my equation. I decided to try a trade.

I called up a family friend inquiring about a full time apprentice mechanic position which I started 3 weeks later. After about 4 months of that job, and learning how much I enjoyed the trade, I started looking into further education... I was determined to find a career that was going to be enjoyable for me and was lucky enough to find it quickly.

My next school step is to attend a rigorous 3 month long program through Cummins Power Generation. After this program I plan to seek an apprenticeship with a company who is willing to put the time and effort in to make me the best tech I could possibly be. I plan to work on off-road diesel equipment with a company like Cummins, CAT, or John Deere.”

2022 Category Winners

Photo of Trishana Sadloo

Automotive Category Winner

New York Automotive and Diesel Institute
Jamaica, NY

Meet Trishana

Cars and automobiles have been a passion for Trishana since she was young. It started with curiosity; she wanted to figure out how automobiles worked and how to fix them. Trishana knew from a young age that this was the field she wanted to pursue. As a high school student she sought out the automotive program at Thomas Edison Career and Technical High School, and once she graduated enrolled in New York Automotive and Diesel Institute’s (NYADI) college program studying Automotive Service Technology.

Trishana excels in her technical training, and helps her peers do the same. She is the recipient of NYADI’s 2021 High School Excellence Scholarship Award, holds a 4.0 GPA in her Certificate in Automotive Service Technology program, and has even begun testing for Automotive Service Excellence certifications. She also volunteers as a peer mentor and student ambassador.

When a fellow student has trouble with something Trishana finds a new way to explain the process or information so that her peers can understand. She enjoys sharing her passion for automotive and helping others deepen their own love of cars.

Trishana dreams of opening her own shop one day, and she has plans to make that dream a reality. After finishing her technical training she hopes to study Automotive Management at Farmingdale State College, and has already begun planning her business.

In their own words:

“As a kid everyone goes through their phases of wanting to be… a ballerina… lawyer, doctor or law enforcement… I on the other hand never found much of an interest in those fields. I found my love of cars [at] a young age and always wanted to be able to understand how they work and how to fix them… I still have that little kid inside me…

My motivation to keep pursuing this industry… is to accomplish my dream… my own female owned and operated automotive shop. This industry has… been male-dominated… forever. I have seen that first-hand by attending… [an] automotive program [with] only 1 to 3 females in the entire school. The next generation of young women need someone that they can look up to and want to be like as they get older… My perseverance and confidence kept me going, [and] can encourage others if they see the persistence one individual can have towards their passion.”


Aviation Category Winner

MIAT College of Technology
Saginaw, MI

Meet Chozon

Chozon shows true determination to succeed as an aviation technician. He balances working full time as an automotive technician, going to school to become an aviation tech, supporting his mother in her battle with breast cancer and a 190 mile daily commute between the three. As Chozon’s nominator puts it, “Anybody else would have thrown in the towel but not him, he continues to climb for greater heights!”

His dedication to his career is inspiring others in his community, too. As Chozon’s nomination says, “He made not only his community but others outside his community believe [that] when you want something as bad as you want to breathe, you can obtain it. You just have to keep going even when times get hard or the road gets rough. [J]ust keep going eventually it'll get better!”

On top of his other commitments Chozon volunteers with his fraternity, the Alpha Mu Tau chapter within Alpha Eta Rho. He aims to inspire other technicians by sharing his story, and showing them what can be overcome.

Chozon is driven by his belief that there is always a way to better yourself for the people you love and cherish most. This inspires him to keep going, even when things seem impossible. He lives by his motto, “School isn't a lost cause, you just have to find your cause and get there."

In their own words:

“When you want more, or you aspire to be more, there's nothing you can't do… I have shown my passion for higher education by pushing myself beyond…the limits I set for myself, only to find out I can go further than… I thought I could.

I can inspire the next generation by showing them or telling them where I came from, as well as telling my struggles…. Even if [I inspire] just one person I would be very happy with that, because that one person may… help many more.”


Collision Repair Category Winner

Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center
Wenatchee, WA

Meet Andres

Andres is driven to become a collision repair professional – his instructors describe him as their most employable student! He obtained the I-CAR ProLevel 1 Non-structural and Refinishing Certifications in 2021, and is currently interning at a highly rated local collision shop. Andres is so knowledgable that his instrustors turn to him to help new students get comfortable with equipment and to speak with guests touring the school.

Andres has overcome a lot to succeed in school. According to his instructors he struggled in years past, but has truly shined in his junior and senior years. He now carries an A average, and is on his way to graduating with top marks in June.

Shifting to a career-oriented mindset has at times been difficult for Andres. Like many people he was comfortable with what he knew. However, with support from his instructors and friends, Andres was able to break out of his shell and seize the opportunities his technical skills afford him. Now Andres is helping his younger brother and classmates understand the opportunities education and training can offer for overcoming poverty.

In their own words:

“I have been working at fast food restaurants in in the local orchards since I was just a kid. Being a part of the collision repair class with Mr. Dietrich has shown me that there is a way out of the lifestyle that I grew up in. I truly truly respect my parents but I know they want more for me and I want more for [my brother].

The job I just got this spring is one that offers me opportunities to move up in the company. It is a local company and I already really like the job and the guys that I work with.

I am really proud of what I have done… I think I set a good example, [and] I know I [am setting] a better example than I used to… It has been really hard for me to continue on with school. I've had some struggles outside of school… and with my classes. But, because I have some awesome teachers and a girlfriend who is absolutely the best, I have continued on… My little brother is learning a lot from me and I think he's going to do better than I have.”


Diesel On-Road Category Winner

Wexford Missaukee Career Tech Center
Luther, MI

Meet Riley

Riley is committed to his technical training. Whether its in class or on his own time, he is very often working on an automotive project of some kind. Riley learns by doing, tackling tasks with very little information and teaching himself as he goes. Many times he ends up teaching what he learns to other students and even his instructors.

Over the past two years Riley has dedicated a large amount of after-school time to training for the SkillsUSA Diesel Competition. His commitment last year was especially impressive, because he was training for a competition that no one knew for sure would happen. Despite the uncertainty presented by the COVID-19 pandemic Riley stuck with the training, and placed 3rd in Michigan’s state level in-person SkillsUSA competition his junior year.

Riley also pays it forward. He mentored the younger students in his program as they, too, prepared for the SkillsUSA Diesel Competition. He puts in extra time to help his instructors complete vehicle repairs at the end of the day and even after school.

Riley has reached out to shops in his area to set up job shadows and build his network within the industry. As his nominator puts it, the network Riley has built through job shadowing and two years of SkillsUSA “are allowing him to grow in ways most students never do.” Riley plans to attend University of Northwest Ohio (UNOH) after graduation in May, and dreams of one day opening his own heavy truck repair facility.

In their own words:

“After high school, I plan to attend the University of Northwestern Ohio for a Bachelor's degree in Supervision of Automotive; Diesel Technology… After that, I will work somewhere where I can gain experience and knowledge in a leadership role in hopes that someday I will use all the resources I've gathered in order to form my own business in the transportation maintenance field.

This award will help take off some of the burden of debt from college and allow me to pursue my plans of owning my own business faster than I would be able to on my own.”


Marine and Watercraft Category Winner

Marine Mechanics Institute
Orlando, FL

Meet Durham

Durham has overcome several challenges to pursue his technical education. He was raised by a single mother, and while in high school lost his grandparents who were a major part of his life. Although he struggled at times, Durham was never defeated.

He repeated courses in high school to improve his GPA. He worked for a year after high school to save money for tuition. His perserverence paid off. Durham is succeeding in his technical program at Marine Mechanics Institute in Orlando. His GPA is an even higher than in high school!

Durham has a passion for marine mechanics, sparked by growing up on the Gulf Coast in Fort Myers, Florida. It is that passion that drove him to overcome adversity, and drives his commitment to his education. Durham hopes to share his experiences with students to inspire and encourage them to pursue their passions.

In their own words:

“I am passion[ate] & determin[ed] to become a marine technician… I am giving 150% of my energy to this program… It was hard seeing my other friends go off to college when I was working and saving money. But I knew this was the path I wanted to take. Sometimes in life you have to work harder than others to obtain your goals.

I am committed to being the best student possible. I come to class every day ready to learn… This is my future. I want to succeed… I try to live my life in a way that is honorable and decent. I treat others the way I want to be treated. I don’t engage in illegal activities.

…Not everyone needs to go to college to get a career. I hope that by achieving my goals, others can see what this industry has to offer.”


Motorcycle and ATV

Motorcycle Mechanics Institute
Phoenix, AZ

Meet Ashton

Motorcycles are Ashton’s calling. She not only wants to learn how to repair them, but also wants to bring her creativity and artistry to rebuilding bikes. Ashton’s nominators describe her as “meticulous in her efforts.” She learned the value of hard work on her grandfather’s ranch, and when she sets her sights on something there is no stopping her.

Ashton is committed to learning all she can to provide the best possible service to those that love to ride. She is stalwart and reliable in her work repairing and maintaining motorcycles, and sets a positive example for her peers.

She volunteers regularly at the local humane society and homeless shelters, and encourages those struggling to see their value and accept help when needed. As her nominators stated, Ashton is inspiring others simply by persevering as a woman in a career overwhelmingly occupied by men.

Ashton’s career goal is to become a Master Harley Davidson Technician, and eventually own her own shop. Motorcycles hold a special significance for Ashton. She grew up around bikes and has fond memories of riding with her dad, even as a young girl. Riding has helped Ashton deal with challenges throughout her life, and she looks forward to helping people find the same freedom as a motorcycle technician.

In their own words:

“I know that this opportunity came to me for a reason and I will push myself, even in times of doubt, because I believe that is when you learn the most about yourself in life…

I chose to become a professional transportation technician, because I love what it has helped me through in my life, and also the opportunities it has brought into my life.

I have always had a strong will and love for what I naturally have felt a draw to in life. When I make my mind up to do something, I do it. I do not let people or things get in the way of my goals, because I have the self respect to really dive in and be the best I can be. I Love to push myself to unknown boundaries and get the most out of things that I can.

…Your future is in your hands, you just have to create it.”


Motorsports (Pit Crew/Racing) Category Winner

Naperville North High School
Naperville, IL

Meet Joshua

Joshua has sustained his enthusiasm for racing and motorsports all throughout high school. He has completed automotive and auto body repair programs to round out his skill set in preparation for a life in professional racing. Joshua wants to maximize his knowledge, so that he can fill multiple positions on a racing team.

Joshua excels in his technical education. He intentionally enrolls in challenging courses, and has earned a certificate in transportation technology from his school district. His positive attitude is respected by his peers and teachers alike. He is a hardworking student, and is willing to share his success with others.

He helps his peers when they struggle with coursework, and has even provided free vehicle repairs to people in need in his community.

Joshua plans to attend the University of Northern Ohio this coming fall, where he will major in motorsports. He has also fueled his passion for motorsports through Q&As with NASCAR drivers.

In their own words:

“I always put full effort into tasks and projects and I never give up if something gets difficult… I always practice and strive to be the best I can be [whether] that's practicing my bowling skills or working on cars for experience and knowledge.

I want to graduate high school and move onto my college career and start my own race team… [and] to teach the next generation how to be an efficient technician and how to never back down from a difficult situation…


Restoration Category Winner

Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES
New Hartford, NY

Meet Jacob

Jacob lives and breathes restoration. He attends the automotive program at his high school and works at a local performance shop after school and on weekends. In his free time Jacob even works on his own project car: a 1930 Ford Model A with a Chrysler Firepower engine, mounted on a 1958 Chevy Bel Air frame.

Somehow, Jacob also finds time to serve as a volunteer firefighter with his local Fire Department. He helps his classmates work through difficult coursework, and is generally community minded. He even helps classmates with their own automotive projects outside of school.

Jacob’s passion for restoration is shown in his commitment to his education. He has a perfect attendance record, and maintains the highest grade of all students in his automotive program.

Jacob was nominated by his instructor, who emphatically endorsed Jacob as one of the best students they have had in their 19 years of teaching. The instructor is an industry veteran with an additional 27 years experience as a technician, and so speaks from experience when he says Jacob has every quality he needs to succeed as a technician.

In their own words:

“I became a technician because of my love for cars, specifically modern Chevrolets, classic muscle, and hotrods… I started learning from my grandfather {by} working in his shop which is more focused on heavy equipment and hydraulics. I took his knowledge and experience that he… showed me and… enrolled in the automotive technology class at Oneida Herkimer Madison BOCES… to learn more about the automotive side of the trade.

Armed with knowledge from the internet, books, tv shows, my grandfather and OHM BOCES, I [was hired] at New Age Hotrods, a highly esteemed performance, fabrication and restoration shop. {After graduation] I plan to stay in the workforce… learning… with people who have been in the industry for decades.

This award can help me… convince others to pursue a passion and continue a career in this field.”

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