The event was sponsored by Auto Collision and Glass of WNY, Sherwin Williams Automotive Refinishing, Millstream Collision, Snap-On, Dodge, Wurth Automotive Products, Hertz Rent a Car, Axalta Coating Systems and Al-Wil-Auto Supplies and gave auto body students from four local BOCES a chance to show off their skills.
From Orleans/Niagara BOCES, Kevin Swift (of Newfane) won first place in the Senior Division and Jon Montgomery (of Wilson) took first in the Junior Division. Nicholas Nowicki, also from Wilson, took second place in the Junior Division. There was $1000 in cash prizes given out. Each student received $25 for competing and a goodie bag filled with apparel and supplies from the sponsors. First place winners won $200 and second place winners received $100 and tools from the sponsors.
Swift is a student in the Auto Body program taught by Tom Struebing at the Orleans Career and Technical Education Center. Jon and Nick take the Auto Body program taught by Paul Magyar at the Niagara Career and Technical Education Center.
“It was a fantastic event,” said Struebing. “Several local collision shop owners decided to hold it to give the students a chance to show off their skills. It is also great for them because they can see some of the young talent coming up and get a chance to offer them an opportunity to work for them.”
Magyar said the organizers did an outstanding job with setting up the event. “It could not have gone any better. All my students thought it was a lot of fun and were very happy about what they received from the sponsors. They even had competitions for the students’ parents that came, and one of my student’s mothers won a signed Jack Eichel hockey stick that was donated by Rick Greenwalt, the Auto Collision and Glass owner. Everyone had a great time and was very impressed with the event.”
The senior competition was on refinishing and blending for color match and damage estimating. Not only did Swift walk away with over $200 in prizes, he also got a job offer at Auto Collision and Glass.
“I was pretty shocked that I won,” Swift commented. “Mr. Struebing taught me a lot. He showed me how to estimate a couple of days before the competition and it made a big difference with me winning.” Fittingly, Swift is now working with a former student of Struebing’s who graduated 18 years ago. “He told me that Mr. Struebing was the best teacher he had in high school,” Swift said.
The junior competition involved dent repair and color mixing. The students were required to correctly compile ratios and mix products into the correct colors and repair a damaged fender. Montgomery took home the $200 prize and a 3M spray gun donated by Al-Wil-Auto Supplies and Nowicki received $100 and a sander donated by Millstream Collision.
(L to R) Auto Collision and Glass owner Rick Greenwalt, Jon Montgomery (Wilson) and Auto Body teacher Paul Magyar.
“The students were judged by local collision experts Russ Haney and Rick Greenwalt from Auto Collision and Glass, Tim Deasey from Millstream Collision, and Ken Wanamaker from Sherwin Williams Automotive Refinishing,” said Magyar. “We are very grateful at how generous they were with their time, knowledge and money.”
“We very proud of all our students,” said Struebing. “I think it is great that they walked away with some great prizes and a chance to impress the judges.”