10 Automotive Students Are FutureTechs Rock Award Winners

May 3, 2019

The nonprofit TechForce Foundation has named 10 automotive, diesel, motorcycle and collision repair technician students as winners of its 2019 FutureTechs Rock Awards, with the grand prize going to an Ohio student.

The grand prize winner is Jonathon Miranda, an automotive student attending Ohio Technical College, a post-secondary technical school in Cleveland, Ohio.  

During the week of April 8 People’s Choice voting period, TechForce followers cast more than 25,000 votes among 10 national finalists who were selected among more than 160 nominees by a panel of judges to represent the different segments of the technician profession: automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle, motorsports, and machining.  Jonathon secured the largest number of votes to earn the grand prize, a choice  of a $1,000 TechForce Foundation tuition scholarship to apply towards his post-secondary technician education or a sponsored Snap-on  tool voucher of equal value.

Throughout his 18-month automotive program, Jonathon has maintained perfect attendance, achieved honor roll six times, and earned all A’s in his associate degree academic classes, which are separate from his technical coursework. Jonathon is a member of his school's Student Leadership Council, where he serves as a role model and mentor, welcomes new students to campus, and volunteers for on-campus events. He also volunteers as a judge with Hot Rodders of Tomorrow, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), and as lead judge for Piston Power Show's high school engine building competition.

The FutureTech Rock Awards recognize and celebrate students’ commitment to and passion for the technician profession and the transportation industry. With the U.S. only graduating approximately 57,000 technician students each year while the workforce need is 120,000 new entrant techs per year just to keep up with demand, the technician shortage is real and emphasizes how valuable each one of these students is to our country’s transportation industry.

Nominations were submitted by instructors, school personnel, fellow students to youth program directors, business and community leaders. Nominations were reviewed by a panel of volunteer judges including Julia Landauer, NASCAR driver; Tony Molla, ASA; Brandon Eckenrode, Collision Repair Education Foundation; Larry Cox, Sunstate Equipment; Ken Calhoun, Altec Service Group; and Frank Leutz, Desert Car Care of Chandler and Wrench Nation who then selected ten national finalists, each of whom receives a tool voucher sponsored by Snap-on, a gift certificate to Cengage's online educational library sponsored by Cengage Learning, and a Haynes Online Manual sponsored by Haynes North America.

The FutureTechs Rock Finalists

The nine finalists are two automotive high school students: Ryan Adkins, Collins Career Center in Chesapeake, Ohio and Angelle Vanderwarf, Kankakee Area Career Center in Bourbonnais, Illinois, and one post-secondary student, Antonio Yepez Cervantes, Ventura College in Ventura, Calif. Finalists representing diesel are Liam Thompson, Delgado Community College, New Orleans, Louisiana and high school student, Noah Salo, attending Joliet Public School in Joliet, Montana. Representing welding and machining, the finalist is Felyciti Alvarez, Fallbrook High School, Fallbrook, Calif., and Aaron Smith who attends Schuylkill Technology Center, Frackville, Pa., won as the motorcycle technician finalist.  Representing collision repair are two finalists:  high school student Wyatt Mote, Wake Forest High School, Wake Forest, N.C., and postsecondary student, Riley Prince, who attends Gateway Community College, Phoenix, Ariz.

The FutureTechs Rock Awards are part of TechForce Foundation’s FutureTech Success initiative to help inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. FutureTech Success is sponsored by industry partners, including Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Bridgestone, CarMax, FedEx Freight, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Interstate Batteries, Manheim, Mercedes-Benz USA, Nissan North America, Penske Truck Leasing, Shell Pennzoil, Snap-on, Universal Technical Institute, Valvoline and WD-40. 

“Our country relies on the mobility technician students of today who will keep America rolling tomorrow. By engaging in a challenging STEM curriculum, these students are preparing themselves for an in-demand, high-tech and rewarding career. FutureTechs Rock Awards nominees are role models for their fellow students and an inspiration to us all,” says Jennifer Maher, executive director, TechForce Foundation.

About TechForce Foundation

TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with the mission to champion students to and through their technical education and into careers as professional transportation technicians. The Foundation distributes more than $2.0 million in scholarships and grants annually, thanks to its generous corporate sponsors and donors, and spearheads FutureTech Success, the industry-wide initiative to help encourage and support more young people to pursue the vehicle technician profession.

For more information, visit www.techforcefoundation.org.