NCK Tech Students Win Silver Medals At National Skills USA Welding Competition

Beloit, KS – July 20, 2023 – Students from NCK Tech Beloit’s Welding program took home the silver medal at the National Skills USA welding fabrication competition held in Atlanta, GA, on June 19-23, 2023. To qualify for the national contest, students must take first place at their respective state competition held in the spring.

The welding fabrication team consisted of three students that worked cooperatively to complete a project from blueprints using SMAW, GTAW, GMAW, FCAW / OFC and PAC welding and cutting processes. The team members were Brayden Doughman – Canton, KS; Hunter Teasley- Pratt, KS; and Josh Uhland – Logan, KS. Skills utilized include: oxy-fuel cutting, welding in all positions, mathematics, layout, drilling, finishing, and the ability to adapt to alterations and stresses in the production environment.

In addition to the team events, Evan Claassen – Whitewater, KS, represented Kansas and NCK Tech in the individual welding competition. During the competition, participants receive drawings and a set of welding procedure specifications that conform to the latest edition of the American Welding Society standards. At a series of stations, competitors are tested on various aspects of welding, including: measuring weld replicas, using weld measuring gauges, and using oxy-acetylene equipment to cut several holes. Welding processes used include, gas metal arc welding (GMAW), flux cored arc welding (FCAW), shielded metal arc (SMAW) and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) on an aluminum project. Evan placed 11th in the nation.

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Special thanks to our supporters and business and industry partners that make it possible for our students to compete at the state and national competitions. Technical education is the backbone of the American economy, it provides students with limitless opportunities to put their skills to work. All four students were hired immediately upon graduating.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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