The team of Medina County Career Center students Austin Gatt and Cole Murphy took second place in the Cleveland Auto Show’s 27th annual Automotive Technology Competition on Sunday.
Five teams qualified for the contest after completing a written exam last January, said Dennis Rose, floor manager of the 2019 Cleveland Auto Show and manager of the Automotive Technology Competition.
Teams were tasked with working through a series of five stations before spending 90 minutes locating and fixing “bugs” that had been placed in identical GMC Terrain SUVs.
Gatt, a junior who is in his first year in the Automotive Technology program at the Medina County Career Center, said one of most difficult parts of the competition was the pressure.
“The pressure was challenging,” Gatt said. “Having everyone looking at you and just trying to wrap your head around what was going on.”
Gatt said the first “bug” the team dealt with had to do with the vehicle’s turn signal.
“We were looking at wiring diagrams and that was kind of throwing us off but we figured it out,” he said.
Senior Cole Murphy said it was nice to get some more experience working on a General Motors product.
“I haven’t worked on many GM (vehicles) besides my truck,” Murphy said. “I have worked at Subaru for nine months and I just started working at Park Ford.”
Murphy said that as a senior, he is able to participate in a work placement program, rather than attending labs at school.
Murphy said learning to work with a new electronic diagnostic tool was a bit of a challenge.
“Just getting used to the whole scanner system because every different company has their own kind of scanner and they are all very different, so you have to figure out how to use them,” he said. “This is the first time we have seen them.”
Career Center instructor Darin Lewis said the competition has been good for his students.
“It shows the program works, it shows there are people out there ready to hire these guys,” Lewis said after the competition.
Both Gatt and Murphy were awarded $3,300 scholarships to attend Cuyahoga Community College, the University of Northwestern Ohio or Stark State College.
“They are walking away with some scholarship money, these guys have worked to get here,” Lewis said.
Rose said a lot of the bugs placed in the vehicles have to do with electronics, as electronics are such a significant part of modern vehicles.
The other qualifying teams included Justin Murton and Jacob Young, and instructor Bret Duris from Ashtabula Technical and Career Center; Michael Karpinski and Jackson Luke and instructor Robert Yuravak from Polaris Career Center; Andrew Daniel and Jared Lehnhart and instructor Dave Borer of Sentinel Career Center; and Cru Webb and Reno Frate and instructor Gary Mitchhart representing Valley Forge High School.