Brandon Clever, a senior in the Greencastle-Antrim School District, and Josh Long, a senior who is home-schooled from Greencastle-Antrim, are third-semester students in Bobby Bard’s automotive technology class at the center.
Bard is a big believer in Brandon and Josh’s talents after seeing them roll over the competition at the state level on Feb. 21 in Hershey, Pa.
These are the guys you want working on your cars, Bard said about his “winning team.”
Brandon and Josh faced teams from nine other Pennsylvania schools in a three-hour, hands-on test of diagnostic skills.
“We had to diagnose a no-start issue (on a 2013 Toyota),” Brandon said.
Not only did they outshine the competition, they won first place, which secured them a spot in the National Automotive Technology Competition on April 2 and 3 in New York.
“I have had students make it to the top 10 five times out of the last eight years, but these are the first two students who placed in the top three — not only that they won,” Bard said.
“I told them, ‘If we’re going to go, we may as well go big. Set the bar high,’” Bard said.
At the 2013 National Automotive Technology Competition at the New York International Auto Show, Brandon and Josh will compete against 30 student teams.
The competition will be similar to the state competition, but it will last six hours, Bard said.
“We have an idea of what we are going to be tested on, just not specifics,” he said.
Bard and the team have spent about two nights a week honing their skills and preparing.
“We know there will be testing on steering and suspension, electrical and electronics,” Bard said.
Both students are anxious to show off their technical skills at the competition, and equally as excited about seeing New York City for the first time.
Their hotel is only three blocks from Times Square, Bard said.
The Pennsylvania Automotive Association is covering the entire cost of the nearly $6,000 trip, Bard said.
Both Josh and Brandon give the career center and Bard credit for helping them realize their automotive goals.
“I didn’t know anything about cars before I started here,” Josh said. “I didn’t know the difference between a camshaft and a crankshaft.”
“I had a basic knowledge of cars, but they really increased my knowledge to what it is now. It helped me get a job and a career,” said Brandon, who wants to continue in the automotive industry.
The automotive field is where Josh wants to stay, but he hopes to include some dealership training in his career path.