In June 2013, Cuesta College sent five career technical education students to the 49th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference (NLSC); all five earned medals. Simon Rowe, of San Luis Obispo, took home the gold in welding, Michael Mullen, also of San Luis Obispo, nabbed silver in automotive services technology and bronze medals were awarded to the college’s welding fabrication team, consisting of students Jon Ellery, of Oakland, Patrick Hickey, of Thousand Oaks, and Ryan May, of San Luis Obispo. The NLSC is a showcase of career and technical education students from around the country.

“We took five students to nationals and every student placed in the top three in the nation by earning a medal. I can’t remember any other institution accomplishing this in the last 12 years I have been involved,” said Engineering Technology Department Chair John Stokes. “It just goes to reinforce the quality of the instruction students receive here at Cuesta College.”

Cuesta College boasts 15 national medals and has had a medalist on the national podium every year since the college began competing in 2006.

Rowe is no stranger to the national podium – in 2012 he won the bronze in welding and in 2011 he took home the gold in automotive collision repair. This was the first national competition for Mullen as a postsecondary student – he medaled in automotive services technology as a high school student in 2011.

About 6,000 public high school and college/postsecondary technical students enrolled in career and technical education programs from around the nation participated in the competition in nearly 100 contests.


Lauren Milbourne / (805) 546-3108 / Lauren_milbourne@cuesta.edu / Posted: 9/2/13