05 May 2008


Jim Rink (313) 336-1513

Alex Super of St. Clair and Bob McClain of Ruby, seniors at St. Clair Tech Center, took first place in the Michigan state final of the 15th annual Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition, held today at the Macomb Community College Expo Center in Warren.

The victory over nine other two-person teams from Michigan high schools means more than $43,000 in scholarship prizes and automotive merchandise for Super and McClain. They will also go to Dearborn, Mich. June 24 to represent Michigan in the national Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills Competition.

In just 42 minutes 38 seconds, the St. Clair team, coached by Russ Cushion, diagnosed and fixed eight electrical and mechanical “bugs” deliberately placed in a 2008 Escape by Ford engineers.

Runners-up in the competition were the team of Luke Kremhelmer and Patrick Blair, seniors at Hartland High School.

John Musselman, a senior at Oxford High School, and fellow senior Nick Murray placed third in today’s event.

The teams competing today earned their places in the state finals by outscoring other Michigan high school teams during an Internet-based exam in February. The online format emulated professional technical certification and training programs used by automotive manufacturers.

Ford Motor Co. and AAA sponsor the annual Student Auto Skills Competition as part of their ongoing effort to encourage talented high school students to pursue careers as automotive technicians. Each year, the competition draws more than 6,000 high school students in the 50 states, and more than $5 million in scholarships and other prizes are awarded.

While the high school teams were competing in the student event, five experienced, professional technicians from Ford dealerships were competing in the Ultimate Master Technician Challenge in another part of the Expo Center.

Russ Tolsma, a technician at Barber Ford in Holland, Mich., won the $3,000 first prize. Larry Miller, a technician with Raabe Motor Sales, Inc. in Delphos, Ohio, was runner-up, earning a $2,000 cash prize.

Third place and $1,500 went to Charles Halter, a technician with Cortese Lincoln-Mercury, Inc. in Rochester, NY.