Skills USA is one of the most important annual events that demonstrates the talents of thousands of high-school students across the United States in the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, Kentucky. These students are competing for wonderful prizes through various competitions ranging from cosmetology, to Advanced Manufacturing. But the most revered prize of all, is a job.
Every year among the hustle and bustle of the event, industry members view competitions with watchful eyes and jobs offers ready to be awarded to those that succeed. But let’s not forget how much effort and time goes into such a competition. Without the help of Ivy Tech and people like Steve Bardonner, Skills USA wouldn’t be what it is today. We had an opportunity to sit down and get an interview with Ivy Tech Community College’s Associate Professor and Dean of the School of Technology and Applied Science and Engineering Technology, Steve Bardonner.
Intelitek: How would you describe your participation at SkillsUSA?
Steve: Back in summer of 2014, I was having a discussion with Intelitek’s Regional Sales Manager Rob Clarke about some general topics. Somehow the subject of Skills came up and he was saying that due to the relocation of the event, he was in need of establishing new contacts and judges at the new venue. I mentioned to him since Louisville was near Indiana that I would be happy to help. Already familiar with Skills USA from being a program chair at Ivy Tech in Muncie who for a few years participated in the CAD Competition, I was excited to be involved. At the competition I served as a judge in the AMT (Automated Manufacturing Technology) Competition using my expertise as a CAD person and educator in evaluating the projects.
Intelitek: What are your thoughts regarding the event? Favorite moments? Anything truly memorable?
Steve: I came away very impressed by the organization, the events, and the venue. The other thing that stood out with the professionalism that all the students demonstrated in and out of the competition.
Intelitek: What is Ivy Tech and why should people know about Ivy Tech?
Steve: Ivy Tech is the largest Community College System in the United States and the largest state-funded college in the state of Indiana. Ivy Tech’s purpose is to help people improve their careers by preparing them for the demands of a variety of professions. We offer anything from industrial certifications to Associate degrees several programs to include many that made up the competitions at Skills USA. Also many regions compete in Skills.
Intelitek: What was the role of Ivy Tech in your attendance at Skills? And what kind of work do you do there? (You’re the Dean of Science and Technology correct?)
Steve: When I told my administration that I had been asked to participate (which also included the Office of the President) much support was given to me by giving me the time from my very busy schedule to be a part of this exciting program. I am the Dean of the Schools of Technology and Applied Science and Engineering Technology at the Central Indiana Region of Ivy Tech that offer programs in Robotics, CNC, Welding, Automotive, CAD, and many more of the competition events.
Intelitek: We would love to have you again, would you come back again next year?
Steve: I would very much like to be a part of this program and return to Skills USA next year.
All of us at Intelitek want to thank Steve Bardonner and Ivy Tech for making the Automated Manufacturing Technology competition possible.
To find out more about Ivy Tech, visit https://www.ivytech.edu/