Every student in the class was given a section of auto hood to repair. The students took the surfaces from raw metal to full auto body sheen. As student Ricky Rossa described, “That process involves multiple sessions of wet sanding to remove grit and scrapes in the metal. Then comes primer, surfacer, 400-grit sandpaper, sealing, color application and then clear coat.”
Each step is crucial to the development of an auto body surface that is free from defects such as mottled paint or a condition called “orange peel” that looks like the surface of that fruit in the paint finish.
Record of Success
Waubonsee Auto Body Repair Program instructor Andrew MacDonald has been highly successful in producing students with the highest skills in the industry. 23 of his students over the last decade have earned top three placements in state-level SkillsUSA painting competitions. Three of his students have gone on to place in the top three at the national level, with one national champion.
The judging was intense as each of the twenty-plus hoods prepared by Waubonsee students was checked by professional judges for the merest flaws in paint surface and shine. MacDonald reviewed the rules used by the judges for the competition. “There can be no haze or frostiness. We’re looking for even color. No mottling. All those factors must be gone,” he explained.
The top three winners in 2016 all got an early holiday gift of new materials and painting supplies provided by sponsors such as Spanesi, a global auto collision repair company whose managing director, Tim Morgan, was present to judge and contribute to the competition. “Waubonsee is where it starts for students,” he stated during the competition. “In fact, it’s where it really starts for the collision industry. There’s not enough technicians today to fill the needs of today’s body shops.”
Waubonsee students were able to network for jobs with local body shop representatives who were present to judge the competition. The winners were thrilled to have earned the distinction of best in class. First place was earned by a student from Aurora, Ronaldo Castanon, who stated before the competition, “I like to challenge myself,” as he had chosen a dark paint color that is much harder to paint perfectly on an auto body surface. Fellow winners were Ryan Sudduth and Daniel Warren in second and third place respectively.
Waubonsee’s auto body repair program is approved by the Illinois Community College Board and certified by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF). It is taught in accordance with National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) standards and follows I-CAR guidelines.