SkillsUSA National Refinishing Champion Elmer Hernandez

Pickens Technical College is proud to announce Elmer Hernandez as SkillsUSA National Refinishing Champion for 2018. As a high school senior, he competed against 13 contestants in Colorado’s State Competition, Elmer placed first. This win led to Elmer competing in the National SkillsUSA Refinishing event against 37 contestants. His high scores in the categories of refinishing competition (Feather/Prep for Prime, Primer Application, Prep for Base Coat, Base Clear Final Product, Masking, Paint Code Identification, Color Assessment, Estimating, Written Exam, and Job Interview) resulted in the winning top refinisher in the country.

In addition to the honor of placing first in refinishing for the entire nation, Elmer also received advanced training classes from Sikkens, PPG, Axalta, and Martin Senour; Snap-On tools and tool box; Sata spray gun; $500 Carhartt gift card; $100 Lowe’s gift card; and college scholarships.

Elmer’s family arrived in the United States from El Salvador in 1995. After moving from California to Colorado in 2000, Elmer’s father began work at Carstar as a body technician. He now runs his own collision business, Advanced Collision. Watching his father, Elmer loved painting as a child and showed interest in the refinishing field at a young age. From his father he learned basic concepts of refinishing and through completing the Auto Collision program at Pickens he learned the technical skills that will help take the family business to the next level.

His humble and polite family has ingrained workforce ready skills into Elmer that have made him the polite, hardworking student he was at Pickens Technical College. Through his dedication to the craft and stellar attendance, Elmer excelled at the technical skills. He was persistent in acquiring knowledge, asked clarifying questions, problem solved situations and with his attention to detail completed difficult assignments producing outstanding work. In team situations, Elmer assisted other students and participated as a group leader. Elmer dressed professionally, conducted himself as a professional and understood the desire to succeed.

Anthony Larson, Collision Repair Instructor, has taught Elmer throughout the program. His supports for second language learners were purposeful and provided the foundation for Elmer to have immediate success. Assistance was also provided to ensure Elmer’s success from CREF (Collision Repair Education Foundation), donations of safety glasses and work shirts. The career fair sponsored by CREF provided an opportunity to talk with industry experts. Members of the Occupational Advisory Committee for the Auto Collision program assisted with practice, tips and refining skills. Aims Community College provided additional refinishing practice. Alumni students turbo taught skills for Elmer’s practice. I-CAR modules provided additional instruction. The support from all these members of the collision industry took part in developing Elmer to master the skills needed for competition and workforce.

Elmer has a bright future in the refinishing industry. His passion and talent will bring him success and he’s looking forward to possibly representing the USA as a champion competing in the World Skills competition.

Parts & People

Parts & People is published monthly by Automotive Counseling and Publishing Company, Inc., a Colorado corporation, P.O. Box 18731 Denver, CO 80203, 303-765-4664. President-Lance Buchner. Founded by Lance Buchner and Dave Lucia.