Sanchez took second in the nation this summer in the Marine Service Technology contest of the National Leadership Skills Conference held in Kansas City, Mo. The competition includes individual skills stations and a written online exam. Students must be proficient in marine application, electrical/ignition systems, fuel systems, cooling systems, lubricating systems, drive/transmission systems and boat and trailer rigging and repair. They are judged on safe work practices, cleanliness, organizational skills, accuracy, speed and completion of assigned tasks.
“This is the first time we’ve had a student finish that high,” said Abe Arispe, assistant professor diesel/marine at the RAC. “He did fantastic, and he’s only a first-year student.”
The contest falls under SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce.
A Navy veteran, Sanchez entered TCC to pursue the 28-credit Marine Diesel Technician Career Studies Certificate. “There are a lot of fantastic instructors here,” said Sanchez, who hopes to graduate in May 2014. “I’ve really enjoyed my time at TCC.”
As for the skills competition, Sanchez has eyes on another prize next summer.
“I was a little upset I didn’t finish first,” he said good-naturedly. “I want to win gold.”
Sanchez plans to eventually open his own repair facility dedicated to marine engines. He finished first in the state competition to advance to the national level.