Executive Director’s Report: August 1, 2014

National Officers Preparing to Lead
We had 15 fine young students here from July 22 to July 30. As is often the case, they were a highly motivated group of achievers with lots of volunteer activity. Many of them credit SkillsUSA and career and technical education for changing their lives. (One officer wrote in his biographical summary that he was “acting out” more and more in school until he walked through the doors of the career center “and decided I’d better turn my life around.”) Many of them are AP students, honor society members and have leadership positions in other school organizations. They’re studying computer animation, criminal justice, automotive service, healthcare, pre-engineering and welding among others. And the work experience is varied too as it logically would be with 10 high school students and five college/postsecondary students. But, most of them have been working at something whether it’s delivering pizzas, babysitting and doing lawn care or working in an assisted living facility, welding and being a machine operator.

While they were here, they learned about facilitating, parliamentary procedure, branding, etiquette, ceremonies and public speaking. This is where they crafted their standard speech for the year. They also attended an outdoor team-building activity we call the “ropes course” and went on a tour of Washington, D.C.

The Big Conference Move
Everyone marvels at the Championships. I believe the most common response I hear from newcomers is “I didn’t know it was this big. You’ve got to be here to see it to believe it.” Well, after 21 years in Kansas City, this year we had to pack up that great big show, send it to Louisville and pack it away until next June. No one got to see it happen but Dave Worden and Jim Kregiel have been working for well over a year to move the Championships inventory to a new warehouse at a price SkillsUSA could afford. It’s done. The last trailer unloaded on July 6. I just thought I’d share some of the figures and highlight some of the support that made it possible:

  • We moved 21 semi-trailers and one flatbed trailer of materials totaling just about 770,000 lbs. of material.
  • We used 3,100 gallons of fuel in the move because the trucks were making round trips. There were four round trips total in convoys ranging from three to nine trucks.
  • A total of 24,610 miles were driven during the move. That’s slightly over eight trips across the continental United States.
  • The Teamsters locals in both Kansas City and Louisville were instrumental. We had 18 drivers from Kansas City and Louisville in addition to tractors and trailers. We also had tractors and trailers from Indianapolis and Minnesota Teamsters.
  • YRC (Yellow Roadway Corporation) provided two load drivers and a tractor and trailer
  • Idealease loaned us two tractors and 17 trailers.
  • We’ve used approximately three-quarters of the warehouse space. Added to the inventory are 18 new table saws for cabinetmaking and 65 new electric ranges.
  • Jim estimates the total savings made on the move was $159,000. Volunteer time from the Teamsters would be valued at $34,000 and the loaned equipment would have cost SkillsUSA $125,000.
  • And, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore was bowled over by the materials donated in Kansas City from PVC pipe and plywood to bricks and the retired stoves. According to the Kansas City Star, ReStore contracted with drivers for two semi-trucks with flatbed trailers to haul things away. We don’t know how many trips they made.

A big thank you and congratulations to Dave and Jim and all the partners who helped us move the big show to a new place.

Highlights

  • News releases on medalists and on Skill Point Certificate recipients were emailed to daily newspapers, weeklies and to Chambers of Commerce before July 4. In all, 4,198 releases were sent on the medalists and 8,910 on the Skill Point recipients. We’re now in the process of sending the releases and information to Members of Congress and the governors.
  • I took a look at national conference participation in a great report Judy Garrison creates every year. While we didn’t have the large increases in female participation in attending the conference (34 percent) and as contestants (32 percent) as we did last year, we did see the trend continue. This year there were 4 percent more female contestants and 8 percent  more female participants than last year. Females were 39 percent of our conference participants and they were 37 percent our total membership last year. I was also pleased to see 1,585 of our chapters (schools) were represented at the conference. That’s an increase over last year and 43 percent of all our member schools.

That’s it for now. Until next time, thank you for all you do for the great students and teachers we serve.