EOC Tech engine build team wins nationals at SEMA
Note: The EOC team also placed fifth at the National PRI competition in Indianapolis in December. Team members each brought home $30,000 in scholarships.
The Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center’s engine build team members traveled to Las Vegas for the Specialty Equipment Market Association Auto Show to compete in the engine build competition — marking the ninth year EOC Tech has participated, and the third year they have left with a first place title.
Students Harrison Mayo, Collin Dodson, Chris Hackney, Bryce Pearson and Mikel Barba made up the engine build team. They competed in a total of three rounds over the course of the week and finished with a time of 18:35.6, making them the fastest team out of the 26 teams that competed.
“EOC Tech has competed in the engine build Competition for nine out of the 10 years that they have held this in Las Vegas,” Automotive instructor and engine build team adviser Jim LaFevers said, “Out of the nine years, we have won our district competition eight times and have won two national titles.”
Although taking apart and re-building an engine quickly and without error may be the primary goal of the competition, The engine build team is just that—a team, something LaFevers emphasizes to his students year after year.
“The most important thing I have learned through coaching this team and traveling with them over the years is that this is a team sport,” he said. “If they don’t work together, they fall apart and when they do, they are so much more successful. Finding the match to make the team is often the hardest part.”
Bryce Pearson, an automotive student and engine build team member was drawn to the team when he first enrolled in LaFevers automotive program and recognized the benefits that could follow if he participated in the competition.
“I wanted to be successful in something automotive and I thought this would be a great opportunity for that,” Collin Dodson said. “I’ve learned that if I dedicate myself and work hard with my teammates, I can achieve much more than I thought.”
The engine build teammates left Las Vegas on Thursday, Nov. 1 with their eye on an even bigger prize—the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) National Title.
LaFevers said students who have won the national competition in the past have gone to the NASCAR Technical Institute, worked in dealerships or continued their education as an automotive machinist with the money they received from the competition – something Dobson is considering himself.
“My future plans are to hopefully win at PRI in December and continue to study and become a diesel technician or maybe some sort of high performance technician.”
Win or lose, LaFevers is happy to encourage students to compete, learn about the industry and help them set goals for their future—and the engine build team is just one tool he uses to do that.
“This competition, learning to work as a team and even just meeting new students from all over the world, it helps them jump-start their career in the automotive trade. It helps them build their confidence and then away they go, working toward their dreams.”
Sadie Heath, Marketing Assistant
Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center
E: firstname.lastname@example.org; P: 405.390.9591 ext. 221