©2012 Springer Publishing Co. Inc. and U.S. Auto Scene ®
web edition, u.s. auto scene ® dearborn, michigan
april 30, 2012
Ford and AAA-Mich. Sponsor
Student Auto Skills Finals
by Gerald Scott
 Yesterday’s auto mechanics have become today’s auto techs.
 Techs as in technologists.
 After all, as the electrification of the typical automobile continues on its long march forward, the folks who repair the cars have to learn new systems and new methods of diagnosis and repair, too.
 This all came to light last week at the longstanding and traditional Student Auto Skills contest, hosted by Ford Motor Co. and AAA Michigan.
 Held in the athletic fieldhouse at Macomb College in Warren, the competitive event allows high school teams from across the state to compete for scholarships, attention and more.
 Twenty juniors and seniors from 10 high schools and tech centers across Michigan met for the Auto Skills contest on April 25 in Warren.
 The winning team, Saline High School, will advance to the nationals, which are held on the giant lawn in front of Ford headquarters in Dearborn in June.
 Evan Fischback and Tommy Michaluk won top honors for perfectly diagnosing and repairing electrical and mechanical “bugs” deliberately placed in a 2012 Ford Fusion in just 29 minutes, 14 seconds.
 The victory means $32,000 in scholarship prizes for the two students, who also took home top honors in the written exam portion of the contest. Their instructor, Tim Timoszyk, has led the Saline team to victory for the past three years.
 As noted, the winning team will compete for additional scholarship dollars and the chance to kick-start their automotive careers when they represent Michigan in the national Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition at Ford World Headquarters on June 12.
 Meanwhile, Devon Krajniak and Thomas Gibson of Fitzgerald High School in Warren placed second in the contest with a perfectly repaired vehicle.
 Their instructor is Ralph Romain. He observed that Fitzgerald High is in a blue-collar neighborhood in Warren where not all students seek to go on to a college education.
 Romain says he gets good support from his high school management for providing good equipment and tools for students like Krajniak and Gibson to excel in an auto repair contest.
 The 10 teams competing last week earned their places in the state contest by outscoring other Michigan high school teams during an Internet-based exam in February.
 Note that nearly $12 million in scholarships are available at the state and national level from Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills events.
 Both the national and state-wide competitions are organized with the support of Ford personnel, local automotive instructors and AAA’s Approved Auto Repair program, a public service AAA performs to identify quality repair facilities throughout the country.
 Very often, the Ford dealership closest to a competing high school also sponsors that team as they progress in the competition.
 The Crest Ford dealership in Center Line, for example, was the sponsor of the Fitzgerald High School team.
The Ford/AAA Auto Skills competition was held at the Macomb College athletic fieldhouse, where Michigan high school student teams all scrambled to de-bug their identically prepared cars in the least amount of time.
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