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Student to Compete on ‘Team USA’ at World Skills Competition

Shawn A. Wasielewski during the international trials in Orlando, Fla.A heating, ventilation and air-conditioning student at Pennsylvania College of Technology will represent the United States during the 2005 World Skills Competition to be held May 26-29 in Helsinki, Finland.

Shawn A. Wasielewski of Easton, a freshman in the HVAC Technology bachelor-degree major in the School of Construction and Design Technologies, won his spot on “Team USA” by beating out challengers from Kentucky, West Virginia and Nevada during international trials last month in Orlando, Fla.

“These competitors represent the best of the best and are the future of our industry,” said Mary Garvelink of Colorado Springs, Colo., president of The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors-National Association.

The four were selected on the basis of their scores at the SkillsUSA vocational-technical competition in Kansas City, Mo., in which Wasielewski represented the Career Institute of Technology in Northampton County. SkillsUSA is a national organization serving high-school and college students enrolled in trade, technical and skilled-service instructional programs.

“We’re really proud of him and have been rooting for him the whole way through,” said Marc E. Bridgens, assistant dean of construction and design technologies and Wasielewski’s faculty adviser.

During the Orlando trials, the students demonstrated their proficiency in identifying and solving system problems, as well as general troubleshooting techniques.

Rotating through four stations, competitors’ mechanical and electrical skills were tested on a self-contained refrigeration system, an operating 134A refrigeration system, an R-410A heat pump and a 2-ton Puron AC split system with a five-kilowatt heat package. Additionally, each was administered a North American Technician Excellence core exam and underwent a personal interview.

“This was a hard-fought competition. All of the candidates were excellent technicians and, as far as I am concerned, they were all winners,” said Ray Mach, the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute’s director of education and a co-chair of the event. “We feel the competition will underscore the fact that, if you enter the field and apply yourself, you will end up a winner. Hopefully, this will help attract the candidates the industry needs.”

Wasielewski, whose father Kevin owns and operates an HVAC business back home, said the international competition will be structured much the same way: Contestants will be given 70 percent of the information the type of systems on which they will be working, for instance and must rely on their wits, insight and education to troubleshoot the remainder.

Wasielewski, center, is congratulated by Ray Mach, left, the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute%92s director of education and a co-chair of the %22Team USA%22 trials%3B and Larry Roberts of SkillsUSA.The international trials were co-sponsored by ARI, PHCC and the PHCC Educational Foundation on behalf of SkillsUSA. Emerson Climate Technologies was a major financial contributor, and Hussmann, Emerson, Carrier and Lennox provided equipment and judges. Industry leaders also pay for the students’ attendance at national and international competition.

The Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute is the trade association representing manufacturers of more than 90 percent of North American-produced central air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment. Additional information about SkillsUSA is available on the Web .

For more about HVAC majors at Penn College, call the School of Construction and Design Technologies at (570) 327-4518, send e-mail or visit on the Web.

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