SWIC Students Succeed in Machining Competition

Southwestern Illinois college proves it is preparing students for opportunities in manufacturing and engineering.

A Southwestern Illinois College (Belleville, IL) graduate brought home a silver medal at the latest national SkillsUSA Competition, held last month in Kansas City, MO. The graduate, Greg Kersulis of Waterloo, finished in second place in the Precision Machining contest portion of the event.

Additionally, student Cole Haggard of Troy finished fifth in CNC Turning and Mike Garcia of Collinsville finished sixth in CNC Milling. The SWIC team for Automated Manufacturing placed fifth in their competition. That team consisted of Mike Campbell of Collinsville, Justin Deterding of Prairie Du Rocher and Charles Barger of Collinsville. Over 40 colleges competed in some categories.

“I was under the impression that it would be difficult and challenging, and it was but I was prepared and I felt like I was ready for it,” said Kersulis, who graduated with his Associate in Applied Science degree in Precision Machining Technology this spring. “The education I got at SWIC was fantastic. My teachers were knowledgeable and I enjoyed it here.”

Fellow student Barger agreed. “The competition was a good learning experience,” he said. “It was a way to get a taste of the industry and the way the machining world works,” he said. “SWIC is by far the best education option I saw. It prepares you for the real world and what needs to be done out there.”

Kersulis said he’s looking for a full-time machining job locally before he later pursues a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. “The reason I’ve done so well is because of the quality of the teachers here,” he added.

SkillsUSA is a national technical education organization that partners educators, employers and students to teach greater skills to Americans, according to its website. Earlier this year, SWIC students did well at local- and state-level SkillsUSA competitions.

At state in Precision Machining Technology, first place was Kersulis, second place was Garcia, third place was Ashley Robinson of Wood River. In Computerized Numerical Control Milling, first place was Garcia, second place was Jacob Sams of Collinsville, third Place was Cole Haggard of Troy.

In CNC Turning, first place was Haggard, second place was Robinson, third place was Campbell. In Automated Manufacturing Technology, the first place team was Campbell, Derterding and Jordan Norman of Glen Carbon. The second place team was Barger of Collinsville, Matt Clark of Granite City and Garcia. In Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, first place was Tim Steinmann II of Highland.



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