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Andrea J. Burney, APR

Director of  Public Relations

DCC GRADS EXCEL AT NATIONAL SkillsUSA COMPETITION

 

Precision Machining Competition Winners

Three recent graduates of Danville Community College’s Precision Machining Technology program had impressive showings at the SkillsUSA national competition. Shown, left to right, are: Dylan Hardy, Porchia Russell, Eric Collie and Kevin Poole, Assistant Professor of Precision Machining Technology.

DANVILLE, VA, August 4, 2015 – Dylan Hardy of Brosville, a recent graduate of Danville Community College’s Precision Machining Technology program, not only was tops in the state SkillsUSA competition, but he recently ranked fourth in the nation for precision machining in the category of Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Turning-College. Also competing in the SkillsUSA nationals, held in Lexington, KY, were Porchia Russell of Pelham, NC, who competed in CNC Milling – College, and placed 21st, and Eric Collie of Ringgold, who competed in CNC Technician-College, and who placed 16th.

“Dylan (Hardy) is the first DCC student who has placed in the top five in the category of CNC Turning. I thought that was an excellent showing,? says Kevin Poole, Assistant Professor of Precision Machining Technology, who accompanied the students to the competition. “Porchia (Russell) made history as the first African-American female to compete in a SkillsUSA machining contest on the national level.?

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure that America has a skilled workforce. Students compete at the secondary and postsecondary (college) levels in a variety of skilled trades, from precision machining to culinary arts.

“All 50 states and two U.S. territories were represented at SkillsUSA. Sixty thousand people attended the competition,? Poole adds. “The DCC students had the opportunity to network with industry leaders and representatives from all over the United States. They also got a taste of what it’s like to have pressure put on them to get the job done, because they had to demonstrate their skills in a set timeframe during the competition.?

Hardy put the skills he learned as a student in Poole’s class to the test at the competition. He says the skills include programming, reading blueprints, operating a basic lathe machine, plotting out points on an axis, and measuring. The recent DCC graduate says he looks forward to taking his skills to a higher level starting this fall by enrolling in the new Integrated Machining Technology program at the Gene Haas Center for Integrated Machining, a partnership between DCC and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.

“I pushed myself to do my best. My goal was placing at least in the top 10 and I placed in the top 5,? Hardy says. “Everything we studied in class corresponded with what we needed to know in the competition.?

Like Hardy, Collie will start his studies in the Integrated Machining Technology program in the fall. While Collie is satisfied with his recent achievement in the SkillsUSA competition, he says he has a desire to move up in the ranks next year, by practicing hand programming and learning how to measure faster.

“I feel that I did well. My strategy was not to stress about possibly losing because just being in the competition was an accomplishment, in my opinion,? Collie says. “It was nice to talk with other people there and see how they are taught the trade and what method they use for programming.?

Collie later plans to earn a degree in mechanical engineering, with the ultimate goal of owning a machine shop and inventing a new part using advanced manufacturing machinery.

Russell enjoyed seeing firsthand the role that precision machinists play in the advanced manufacturing process during a tour of the Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory.

“It was most definitely a learning experience. It opened my eyes to how much more I want to learn and need to learn,? Russell remarks. “We met a lot of people and came back home with tons of ideas. It gave us more confidence that we chose the right career path.? Russell is planning to enter the workforce as a precision machinist and is currently considering several job offers.

Along with the sense of pride in their accomplishments, the students received $1,000 scholarships from the Gene Haas Foundation for winning the SkillsUSA state competition in their respective categories and participating at the national level. The DCC Educational Foundation funded the students’ trip to the national competition.

For more information about precision machining or integrated machining programs, contact DCC Workforce Services at 434.797.8430 or click here.

 

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