The TechForce Foundation announced the 2020 FutureTechs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner is Griffin Howland, a senior in high school attending Pickens County Career and Technology College, in Liberty, S.C. TechForce the award to honor our student community and recognize those who have a promising future and will shape the transportation industry.
Griffin’s nominator stated, “Griffin is extremely motivated to be the best at every task that is put in front of him. Griffin also has great soft skills and character traits that allow him to remain calm and focused even during adversity. I truly believe that it is the sum total of these skills and traits that will propel him into a bright future. He is already proficient in SMAW, GTAW, GMAW, and FCAW welding processes with multiple materials, as well as OSHA 10 Certified. His drive and motivation is unmatched and is evidenced by his commitment to school even when school has been cancelled. Griffin is constantly trying to polish his skills outside of the classroom through various welding projects.”
Griffin’s achievements include representing his school’s welding program at the state SkillsUSA welding competition, finishing 4th out of 260 at the Tulsa Welding Competition in Jacksonville, FL, exemplary attendance (he even attends optional trainings on his days off) and being named his school’s Welding Student of the Year in 2019. Griffin is also an active leader in the school’s marching band, and a member of the All-Region Band and Beta Club.
According to Griffin, “I enjoy accomplishing something that I can see the real world implications of. It’s not like a math problem where the solution is all in your head or on paper. I enjoy welding as more than just work.”
During the People’s Choice voting period (April 6-10), TechForce followers cast thousands of votes among 9 national finalists who were selected from more than 125 nominees by a panel of expert judges. This year’s nominees represented approximately 57 unique schools (30 unique post-secondary programs, 27 high schools).
Griffin secured the largest number of votes and has been named the Grand Prize Winner, earning his choice of a $1,000 TechForce Foundation tuition scholarship, or prizes from TechForce sponsors including specialty tools from AutoZone, an online Haynes Manual and an iPad Air from Ford Motor Company.
Upon learning he won the national award, Griffin exclaimed, “This is great! This scholarship will help with the cost of school. I’m looking forward to tech school and learning underwater welding.”
The 2020 finalists each represented a distinct technical education discipline. The Awards Finalists included:
- Automotive – Meng Yang, Long Beach City College.
- Aviation – Damen Martin, Upper Bucks County Technical School.
- Collision Repair – Samantha Welch, GST BOCES Cooper Campus.
- Diesel Off-Road – Danny Gonzalez, Salina Area Technical College.
- Diesel On-Road – Christian Hill, University of Northwestern Ohio.
- Motorcycle & ATV – Nicholas DiBartolo, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute.
- Motorsports – Franklin Forman, University of Northwester Ohio.
- Restoration – Kassidy Nixon, Central Carolina Community College.
The FutureTechs Rock Awards are part of TechForce Foundation’s workforce development initiative to help inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. The initiative is sponsored by industry partners, including Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, CarMax, FedEx Freight, Ford Motor Company, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz USA, Nissan North America, Penske Truck Leasing, Shell Pennzoil, Snap-on, Toyota USA Foundation, Universal Technical Institute and WD-40.