Press Release

April 20, 2006

Grafton High School Wins National Automotive Competition in New York City

What did your high school students do over Easter break? Two Grafton high school students traveled to New York City and won the Greater New York Auto Dealers Association (GNYADA) national high school automotive technology competition.

Seniors Ryan Cummings and Scott Tonelli, and their instructor Carl Hader, sponsored by the Automobile Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee (ADAMM), went into the two day competition after an intense month of preparation and emerged as national winners. Grafton was known as Team Toyota for the competition and Russ Darrow Toyota of West Bend supplied a 2006 Toyota Solara as well as a technician to help train them in the weeks leading up to the competition.

Both competitors are students in the Grafton High School Automotive Youth Educational Systems (AYES) program which is certified by the National Automotive Technicians Educational Foundation (NATEF). They have been automotive students for 5 semesters under the instruction of Carl Hader, himself a National Institute of Automotive Service Excellence (NIASE) certified master automotive technician and instructor at Grafton for 27 years.

Qualification for the competition begins with a national test given regionally by the ADAMM organization in December. The top five schools emerging from that test participate in a hands-on event held at MATC in February. The winner of the ADAMM hands-on event becomes Wisconsin’s team for the national competition. Scott Fisler of Don Jacobs Subaru in Waukesha, known as the “chief bug engineer” for the ADAMM competition accompanied the group to New York to ensure that the local competition continues to meet the rigor required for generating a national competitor. The Milwaukee event is 90 minute vehicle hands-on repair competition followed by 90 minute workstation rotation.

Then national competition takes place during Automotive Education Days at the New York International Auto Show. It involved 38 teams from California to Florida and took two days to complete.

Day one is a four hour long session that requires students to perform tasks at ten different workstations related to tasks that NATEF-certified high school auto programs should be covering. The Grafton team was faced with performing a four-wheel alignment, reassembling an air bag system in a vehicle, chasing down a minute leak in a vehicle evaporative emission control system, performing brake work, doing precision measuring on engine components, finding and repairing faults in vehicle wiring harnesses, demonstrating their knowledge of shop safety and hazardous material handling, diagnosing battery, charging, starting, and electric door lock systems, and interpreting lab scope waveforms. To the regular reader these tasks may seem interesting at best, but the twenty-first century automotive and truck technicians reading this know that intense testing like this can be both physically and mentally draining. The Grafton team was well prepared for the workstations with help from surrounding dealers in Ozaukee County, Equipment representatives and even from other schools. Instructors at both Cedarburg high school and Arrowhead high school worked closely with Hader to generate training that would ultimately lead to a winning team. As Hader says, “It takes a whole village, an extended one at that, to accomplish a task like winning a national competition. The Dealers in our surrounding area are ultra-cooperative. When I call them to ask for a tool to train with, a vehicle to look over, or ask to come over to the service department and examine systems on new cars, they are always right there dong what’s best for education. We truly have a wonderful working relationship between business and education in the transportation field. That relationship reaches a national level also with the manufacturers sponsoring competitions like the GNYADA or Ford-AAA, or SkillsUSA events that we commonly attend. With budget constraints attacking manufacturers, they have the insight to continue to fund the youth who will become the highly skilled technicians necessary to keep the service end of their industry operational in the coming years.”

Day two of the competition also took place at the Jacob Javits convention center in New York City. The 38 teams from around the country were each placed in a work stall with their competition vehicle. Grafton was assigned a 2006 Toyota Solara to work on. Unlike other competitions where identical vehicles are used, the GNYADA event has each team on a different vehicle to be equitable to the over 150 dealers and 14 manufacturers that help sponsor the event. An observer could watch teams on Fords, GM vehicles, Mercedes, Hondas, Kias, Daimler-Chrysler vehicles, BMW’s, Lexus, Toyotas, Scions, Mazdas, Nissans, Volkswagens, etc.

When the green flag was dropped by NASCAR driver and the announcement of “Technicians start your engines if you can” was called out by Bob Frye of NHRA Today, the teams had three hours to find, repair, and properly document their work. Laptops with electronic service information and pages of electronic wiring diagrams were flipping. Specialty tools were employed and components were replaced. A team could expect to be faced with up to 16 separate “customer concerns” and then had to perform a repair while closely following the industry standard “3 C’s of automotive repair” which are “Verifying the Customer Complaint, Determining the Cause of the Malfunction, and Making the Correction”.

When the dust cleared and it was announced that there were ten minutes remaining in the 3 hour event, the Grafton team began it final process of “buttoning up the vehicle”. Crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on the 5-page repair order properly documenting their hours on task revealed a vehicle that had all repairs made, complete with the accompanying service manual and electrical wiring diagram bibliography required to win. Tonelli & Cummings closed the doors and the hood at the final buzzer using every last second to guarantee a perfectly repair vehicle. In the last seconds as the stall judge looked over their shoulders, they even took the time to apply icing on the cake by initializing the safety systems on the power windows and reset the tire pressure monitoring system. An in-depth, working knowledge of all vehicle systems and a jaw-dropping work ethic throughout the three-hour repair window made all the difference for Wisconsin’s team.

Gary Beier, ADAMM representative who traveled with the team was impressed with the Grafton team’s prowess. “These guys did an awesome job. Watching the tenacity and accuracy at which they worked was absolutely amazing.”

For their first place victory Cummings and Tonelli each receive thousands of dollars in full tuition scholarships to automotive training programs, huge Snap-on roller cabinets and tool sets, VIP tickets to NASCAR and NHRA summer races, and a variety of automotive OEM and aftermarket clothing and prizes. The top prize for the two Grafton winners is a brand new Chevrolet Cobalt car when they finish their post-secondary education! Well over $50,000 worth of offers and prizes for each winner, not bad for two days work…of course that was preceded by 12 years of solid education in Grafton Schools and those 5 semesters of automotive instruction in an automotive program teaching to national standards.

Grafton High School gets a brand new rim clamp tire changer from Hunter Engineering valued at over $5000, $1000 worth of Snap-on Tools, $1500 educational grant from the EPA, classroom training materials from CDX-Global valued at $4995, training simulators from Megatech Corporation worth over $5 and a brand new Toyota Tacoma pickup truck for instructional use in their automotive lab. About a $15,000 dollar impact to the Grafton High School Automotive Program, not bad for two days work…of course that was preceded by a 27-year career for Hader and the right combination of competitors and support from the “automotive village” in Wisconsin which represents all of our dealers in the ADAMM area and the Wisconsin Automobile and Truck Dealers Association (WATDA) who are the state’s counterpart to the GNYADA who sponsor the national event.

For his hard work, Carl Hader received a 5-night Carnival Cruise including air travel, presented by Wyoming Technical Institute. He’ll also have the benefit of teaching with that new equipment on that new vehicle as he rounds out his career at Grafton.

For more information on this event and to add your own insight into this story, you may want to contact any of the following:

Carole Rogner at GNYADA or 718-746-5900

Mark Scheinberg – president of GNYADA

The GNYADA website with the 2006 competition information at:

ADAMM 414-359-9000 Debbie Bennett x6 or Gary Beier x200

Carl Hader, GHS Instructor: 262-375-0049 (home) 262-376-5640 (school) 262-617-5649 (cellular)

Ryan Cummings (parents Cal & Marcia) 262-375-1312

Scott Tonelli (parents James & Kathleen) 262-377-2190

We are available for a photo next week when school resumes.

We may also have digital photos from New York ready by Monday, April 24th