TMCC Students Win Top Awards at SkillsUSA Nationals

K. Patricia Bouweraerts
SkillsUSA Winner Grant Wager Image

Grant Wager, automotive technology major at TMCC, celebrates his sixth place national finish at SkillsUSA National Competition.

Students at Truckee Meadows Community College are successfully competing with the best of the best in the country – a culinary arts student has just won a gold medal, and an automotive technology student finished in the top ten at SkillsUSA National Competition.

Baking and pastry student at TMCC, Annie Yamamoto was awarded the gold, placing first in the country in the commercial baking category. The SkillsUSA National Competition was held in Louisville, Kentucky during June.

“Annie Yamamoto is a very talented and dedicated student, who worked very hard and deserves this award,” said Chef Karen Cannan, Culinary Arts Professor. “In addition to being an excellent student, she gives a lot of her time volunteering and leading the Aspiring Chef group of culinary students.”

Grant Wager, an automotive student, placed sixth in the nation at this year's competition. His contest was in automotive service technology, vying with 38 other state winners. Students qualify for the national competition by finishing their state contest with a gold medal.

“We in the automotive department are very proud of his accomplishment,” said Ray Scow, Automotive Technology Instructor, who also accompanied students to Kentucky.

Wager is currently a technician at Reno Mazda-Kia. He holds a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) at TMCC, Scow said.

Chef Cannan added that the latest top awards add to a growing list of accomplishments by TMCC students.

“Our Culinary program is blessed to have a total of four national medals in the last nine years: two gold, one silver, one bronze, and several top ten finishes,” she said.

SkillsUSA Prepares Students in Skilled and Technical Careers

The SkillsUSA organization is comprised of students, teachers and industry representatives, including more than 300,000 members annually. It is focused on preparing students for careers in technical, service, and skilled occupations, including the health field. Leadership and community service are promoted alongside career training.

“SkillsUSA empowers its members to become world-class workers, leaders and responsible American citizens,” according to “SkillsUSA improves the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training.”

Local, state and national competitions are centered on career proficiencies and leadership abilities. At the national contest, more than 5,500 students compete in 94 categories.

“Receiving National medal awards and having the opportunity to see students reach such exciting goals, is an inspiring and gratifying experience.” Chef Cannan said. “Additionally it teaches me how to be a better coach and mentor.”

List of State SkillsUSA Student Awards

In addition to the national winners named above, TMCC and Academy for Career Education (ACE) Charter High School students earned medals at the Nevada state competition in six categories:

  • Culinary Arts Gold: Travis Stehman, TMCC
  • Culinary Arts Silver: Jake Lau, TMCC
  • Culinary Arts Bronze: Brittney Birmingham, TMCC
  • Commercial Baking Gold: Annie Yamamoto, TMCC
  • Commercial Baking Silver: Mary McQueen, TMCC
  • Commercial Baking Bronze: Andrea Cortez, TMCC
  • Automotive Technology Gold: Grant Wager, TMCC
  • Diesel Technology Silver: Ryan Wilson, TMCC
  • Diesel Technology Bronze: Justin Dagenhart, TMCC
  • Diesel Technology Bonze: Ostkai Garcia, ACE High School
  • Diesel Technology Gold: Chris Stephenson, ACE High School
  • Diesel Technology Silver: Marlon Rodriguez, ACE High School
  • Precision Machining Technology Gold: Justin Rose, ACE High School
  • Precision Machining Technology Bronze: Jacob Cothrun, ACE High School
  • Welding Silver: Walker Laffins, TMCC

For more information about the Culinary Arts Program, please call 775-674-7917. For Automotive Technology, Precision Machining Technology or Welding, the phone number is 775-856-5300.