Their tour began at the headquarters of IAA in Chicago. President and CEO John Kett, along with executives Don Hermanek and Rita Figi, welcomed the SkillsUSA team. They explained their business model and talent needs for their national operations. IAA employs over 2,000 people nationwide and exceeds $2 billion in annual revenue. IAA supports a number of SkillsUSA programs, and some new initiatives will be rolled out in the near future. SkillsUSA presented IAA with a recognition plaque.
Sam Bottum, chief marketing officer and vice president for Snap on Incorporated, then joined the SkillsUSA team in downtown Chicago to visit Campbell & Company, where they met with communications strategists Christina Black and Andy Bromwell. They are working with SkillsUSA on a national messaging strategy that is focused on fundraising as well as better ways to describe our mission and programs. This work is being funded by a grant from Snap-on, and Sam serves on the SkillsUSA board of directors.
Their next visit was with Greg Palessour, vice president of marketing for Klein Tools in Lincolnshire, IL. Klein provides tool prizes for students and teachers. They discussed a strategy to bring Klein to a higher level of support and ways to create a talent pipeline.
The SkillsUSA team then flew to Los Angeles for a meeting with Toyota Motor Sales, a loyal partner for 29 years. They were welcomed by Rick Lester and met with SkillsUSA Foundation member Dave Zellers, national technical training manager Greg Bryan and general manager Rose Bauss. They were introduced to Toyota Foundation manager Michael Medalla and presented an overview of SkillsUSA’s mission and core programs. They discussed how Toyota and SkillsUSA might work together on skills gap issues and STEM education. A follow-up meeting will be scheduled to further discuss the partnership with the Toyota Foundation and Toyota Motor Sales. The team presented a SkillsUSA Champion award to Toyota for its long-standing support.
The final stop of the first Goodwill Tour of 2017 was at the offices of mikeroweWORKS in Santa Monica, CA. The team met with president Mary Sullivan and Jade Estrada, director of operations and business affairs. The mikeroweWORKS Foundation has pledged up to $100,000 in scholarships for 2017, the seventh year of the partnership. Mike and his team pledged to assist SkillsUSA with public relations as they address the critical need to educate parents, counselors and communities about the opportunities in the skilled and technical workforce. SkillsUSA presented an appreciation plaque with a photo of the 2016-17 national officer team to show the student connection that is created by our work together.