Twins go head to head for national award, one wins Grand Prize
May 10, 2022 – SCOTTSDALE, AZ — TechForce Foundation® announces Jacob Gunther of Naperville, Illinois as the 2022 FutureTechs Rock Awards Grand Prize Winner. TechForce created this prestigious award to honor aspiring technicians and recognize those students with a promising future in the transportation industry. Meet the full slate of honorees, including the Category and Grand Prize Winners, at TechForce.org/Winners
“I love welding because it makes me feel happy and relaxed,” says Jacob. “I have a sense of freedom and happiness… [I] am inspired to be a welder because I love making my own products and fabricating [car] parts… and teaching new people how to do what I love. My career goal is to get welding certified and own my business after high school.”
Thousands of TechForce followers weighed in to select Jacob as the Grand Prize Winner from among ten Category Winners, including his twin brother Joshua, in the May 2-6, 2022 People’s Choice public vote. Jacob is the Welding & CNC Category Winner and Joshua won the Motorsports (Pit Crew & Racing) category. See their interview here.
Jacob credits Joshua and his family with sparking his passion for welding, “My family has a project [car]… a ’67 [Chevrolet] Camero that we have been slowly working on. That’s where it all started… building that together as a family.”
As the Grand Prize Winner Jacob will receive over $4,000 in scholarships and prizes from TechForce and our industry partners. Each of the ten Category Winners received $1,800 in prizes. Prize sponsors include Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Caliber Collision, Cengage Learning, CRC Industries, Ford Motor Company, Snap-on Industrial and WD-40 Company.
Category Winners were selected by a panel of industry expert judges from a pool of nearly 370 nominations, representing 95 schools across 33 states. 20% of the Category Winners were women, a significant proportion considering only 3% of professional technicians are women.
The 2022 Category Winners represented six states and nine schools and were equally split across high school and post-secondary programs. They each represented a distinct technical education discipline, and included:
- Automotive – Trishana Sadloo, New York Automotive and Diesel Institute, Jamaica, NY
- Aviation – Chozon Gilbert, MIAT College of Technology, Canton, MI
- Collision Repair – Andres Arellano, Wenatchee Valley Technical Skills Center, Wenatchee, WA
- Diesel Off-Road – Joshua Finell, Universal Technical Institute, Avondale, AZ
- Diesel On-Road – Riley Larr, Wexford Missaukee Career Tech Center, Cadillac, MI
- Marine and Watercraft – Durham Egger, Marine Mechanics Institute, Orlando, FL
- Motorcycle and ATV – Ashton Chatham, Motorcycle Mechanics Institute, Phoenix, AZ
- Motorsports (Pit Crew/ Racing) – Joshua Gunther, Naperville North High School, Naperville, IL
- Restoration – Jacob Edwards, Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES, New Hartford, NY
- Welding and CNC – Jacob Gunther, Naperville North High School, Naperville, IL
The FutureTechs Rock Awards are part of TechForce Foundation’s workforce development initiative to help inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. TechForce has also created the first and only social network designed and gamified for professional technicians and tech students to connect with each other, employers and schools (JoinTechForce.org). The transportation community is supporting it with content and using it to learn, connect, find events, and explore job opportunities while competing for prizes and leaderboard status. More students, working techs and educators joined the TechForce Social Network during the Grand Prize public vote (May 2-6, 2022) than at any other time.
About TechForce Foundation
TechForce Foundation is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with the mission to champion all students to and through their technical education and into careers as professional transportation technicians. The Foundation distributes more than $1.5 million in scholarships and grants annually, thanks to its generous corporate sponsors and donors, and spearheads an industry-wide workforce development initiative to help encourage and support more young people to pursue the vehicle technician profession. This includes a network of students, working technicians, instructors, employers, industry professionals and enthusiasts committed to championing the technician workforce. For more information, visit www.TechForce.org. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and Linkedin.
- Winner photos: https://adobe.ly/37uIZL6
- Awards logo: https://adobe.ly/3KzPEBc
- Winner profile webpage: TechForce.org/Winners
- Awards homepage: TechForce.org/FutureTechsRock