Findlay Volkswagen Henderson hosts SkillsUSA event

Three Findlay Volkswagen Henderson technicians in their early 20s created what will undoubtedly be a lifelong friendship thanks to their participation in the Clark County School District’s SkillsUSA Auto Tech competition several years ago.

The participating former students included Aureliano Mendivil, Logan Campbell and Julian Duenes, who all assisted SkillsUSA when the dealership presented another of its all-day educational sessions Feb. 9 in the Valley Automall.

Mendivil, Campbell and Duenes now work at Findlay Volkswagen Henderson, and each assisted in putting together the competition for the third consecutive year.

At the event, 19 contestants were challenged to compete in 10 different categories, including work order station, automatic and manual transmissions, engine performance, brakes, suspension, HVAC and job interview categories.

Mendivil, a former student at Southwest Career and Technical Academy in Henderson, qualified for the event three years ago. He got first place in regionals and advanced to state. He was hired as an express technician by Findlay Volkswagen in 2016.

Mendivil is now a parts consultant dealing with wholesale.

“I have been interested in working on cars ever since I was a little kid,” he said. “I just gravitated into the business from there.”

Campbell also started out as an express technician for Findlay Volkswagen Henderson. He is now a lead express lube technician.

“This has been very good for me,” he said. “I wasn’t into cars and didn’t know a thing about them. I was kind of stuck, and Junior (Mendivil) stood by me and took me under his wing, so I started to follow him.”

Duenes started as a porter for Findlay Volkswagen Henderson.

“I always wanted to build my own car with a powerful engine,” he said. “I saw the program and signed up for it. From there, I became a technician.”

Findlay Volkswagen General Manager Melisa Eichbauer praised the event and the students who participated in it.

“We are thrilled to host the Skills competition here at Findlay Volkswagen Henderson,” she said. “The young people competing are certainly something we are all proud of. As a business operator, my philosophy is that it is my responsibility to provide more to our community than just deliver services and goods.

“Hosting this event is just one way my team gets to deliver the purpose.”

Ryan Schultzman, an 18-year-old student at Arbor View High School, liked the program.

“It was a great competition,” said Schultzman, who joined the Army.

Kateryna Hampton, a freshman at Shadow Ridge High School, said the event was a great learning experience.

“I really want to work on classic cars,” she said. “I look up to my grandpa, and he’s a backyard mechanic. The technology is really cool. Right now I’m working on a 1986 F-150. I’m just trying to get it back to life.”

Rudy Arbabi, admissions representative for Universal Technical Institute in Avondale, California, was thrilled about the final outcome.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “The competitor who won first place, Brogen Ripley, will be attending UTI. Tevin Noorda, the second-place winner, hopes to join his brother, Slate, who just graduated from UTI and already has a job with Porsche in Reno.”

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