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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 06/20/12
Olkowski to represent U.S. at WorldSkills 2013
by CHRIS GRAYA Romeo graduate will show the world what a Michigan machinist can do.
Observer Staff Writer
Ron Olkowski, a 2010 Romeo High School graduate and sophomore at Ferris State University, has been selected to represent his country on TeamUSA in the WorldSkills International competition in July 2013.
The competition, which will be held in Leipzig, Germany, pits students from around the world against one another in vocational trades.
In Olkowski's case, he will compete in computer numerical control (CNC) turning.
WorldSkills, formerly known as Skills Olympics, is the top level a student can compete in regarding the SkillsUSA competitions.
This is the second time Romeo has seen one of its graduates attend WorldSkills. In 2009, Josef Schwartzer placed 15 out of 20 in CNC turning at the international competition.
Guy Hart, machining instructor at the Romeo Engineering and Technology Center, said Olkowski was one of three candidates under consideration.
"It's an incredible feeling," Hart said. "I'm really happy it's one of mine again."
Olkowski said he wasn't sure he would be qualified since he hadn't placed first when competing at the national level, so he was definitely happy about being selected.
"I got the call about a week ago, and man oh man was I excited," he said.
In 2010, Olkowski placed third in the nation in CNC turning, and in 2011 he placed third in the same category as a post-secondary student.
Olkowski currently interns at Makino in Auburn Hills, a global producer of die and mold technology. He said his boss was extremely pleased to hear Olkowski was chosen for the competition.
"It's good experience, I'll learn under pressure on new technology that might not even be out yet," Olkowski said.
Hart said he will work with Olkowski to train for the event, as students from countries like Japan or Thailand prepare for two years while European students train for four months.
"Other countries in the world, they're national heroes," he said.
Regardless of how he places, Hart said he is proud to take a student like Olkowski to the competition, especially since it can only help in his future.
"It will open some doors for him," Hart said. "It's the experience of a lifetime, he's going to make friends from all over the world and the network is going to build for him."