Two OSU Institute of Technology students received two of the four Technicians of Tomorrow scholarships available to attend the annual VISION Hi-Tech Training and Expo along with additional funds each to put toward their education. The conference, held by Midwest Auto Care Alliance, took place in Overland Park, Kansas Feb. 28 through March 3.
Jarod Hile and Zach Cypert, OSUIT Pro-Tech program students, attended VISION alongside two Pro-Tech instructors, Ryan Lasarsky and Eric Reeves. This is the fourth year the program has had the opportunity to take students who won scholarships. MWACA gives out four student scholarships each year and this year, two were from OSUIT.
“Last year a friend of mine won the same scholarship, and from seeing how much he enjoyed it I was really hoping I’d get to go and experience it as well,” said Hile. “I was really surprised when I won. For two of us from the same school to win is pretty impressive, there are only four of these scholarships awarded each year.”
VISION provides the opportunity to learn and network with leading shop owners, managers and technicians. The expo also features a 60,000 square-foot exhibit hall that showcases the latest tools, equipment and technology.
“Each year we get to learn about new technology in the automotive industry to help us stay relevant,” said Lasarsky. “We take courses specifically geared at being better automotive instructors in addition to the technical classes.”
The instructors and students both attended training for two days. The conference has evolved through the years from exclusively training technicians to include additional training for automotive shop management, automotive educators and heavy-duty equipment technicians.
“The courses I took were focused on the latest brake technology updates and the systematic approach to computerized engine controls,” said Hile.
In addition to the industry training, Lasarsky said that one main thing they get from the event is networking. He has been able to build his personal learning network to include automotive instructors from other states and some other countries. “These are the guys I stay in touch with through the year and am able to contact if I have questions or just need to bounce ideas off of.”
“It was a great experience, I was able to meet with a lot of people and see a lot of new technology that’s coming out,” said Hile. “I wouldn’t change anything about it.”