18-Year-Old ‘Barrier Buster’ Riley Schlick-Trask Wins Grand Prize in TechForce’s 2023 Techs Rock AwardsTM
College-Bound Owner of Riley’s Rebuilds, Bradenton, Fla., is First-Ever Independent Shop Winner of Award Honoring Professional Technicians
June 20, 2023 — PHOENIX — Eighteen-year-old Riley Schlick-Trask will enter college this fall with more than high hopes for a great education. She’ll also have the support of professional technicians and leading mobility/transportation industry organizations across North America as Grand Prize Winner of the TechForce Foundation® 2023 Techs Rock Awards.
As owner of a highly successful carburetor rebuilding business, Riley’s Rebuilds, Bradenton, Fla., Riley exhibits the passion and grit that will help drive successful, rewarding careers for the next generation of professional technicians. She is the first independent shop professional to win the top honor in the Techs Rock Awards program.
“I am very excited, very honored, and very grateful to be the Grand Prize Winner!” Riley said. “I’m fortunate to be blessed with the industry’s support and to have a platform thanks to that support. I’m super happy to be the Grand Prize Winner, and I’m in awe of my fellow Category Winners!”
Riley at age 13 began restoring carburetors to earn money to eventually purchase her first car. Her business took off when she turned to social media to find parts to meet her clients’ needs. Since then, she has been featured in more than 50 publications, appeared on local and national television, and built an online following of like-minded young people. “Riley is using this opportunity and her brand…to inspire a host of other young women to see this industry as one of growing opportunity and incredible support,” wrote her Techs Rock Awards nominator.
“TechForce is committed to powering the technician workforce,” says Executive Director Jennifer Maher. “The Techs Rock Awards bring the mobility industry together to support the next generation, change the public perception of these high-tech STEM careers, and celebrate today’s leaders. Each winner is full of passion and grit, exhibits true excellence, and inspires the next generation of techs. We are proud to celebrate their contributions.”
Thousands of TechForce followers voted for Riley as the Grand Prize Winner from among five Category Winners in the June 12 – 16, 2023, People’s Choice public vote. Riley previously won the Awards’ Barrier Buster Category.
As Grand Prize Winner, she will receive over $10,000 in prizes from TechForce and our industry partners. Prize sponsors include Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Cengage Learning, CRC Industries, Ford Motor Company, Nissan, Snap-on Industrial, and WD-40 Company.
Previous Techs Rock Grand Prize Winners include Daniel McCrum of CarMax in 2022, Donald Ranquist of CarMax in 2021, Melina Algier of Farnsworth Chevrolet in 2019, and Michael Cole of Kunes Ford of Delevan in 2018.
TechForce partners have awarded more than $18,500 in prizes to this year’s honorees:
- Each Category Winner receives prizes valued at over $1,900 from TechForce partners Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, Cengage Learning, CRC Industries, Ford Motor Company, Nissan, Snap-on Industrial, and WD-40 Company.
- In addition to their Category Winner prizes, the Grand Prize Winner, chosen by popular vote, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip to STX 2024 in Nashville, Tenn., valued at $3,000, courtesy of Advance Auto Parts, and additional prizes valued at $6,000 from AutoZone, CRC Industries, Ford Motor Company, Nissan, Snap-on Industrial, and WD-40 Company.
Celebrity judges selected the five Category Winners from hundreds of nominated technicians. Judges include Bogi Lateiner, Bogi’s Garage; Harrison Burton, Wood Brothers Racing; Emily Reeves, Flying Sparks Garage; Pete Meier, Dorman Products; and Camrie Caruso, Camrie Caruso Motorsports.
The 2023 Category Winners include:
- Barrier Buster – Riley Schlick-Trask, Owner, Riley’s Rebuilds. The Barrier Buster category recognizes technicians for showing heart and passion in overcoming obstacles to succeed.
- Die Hard – Bryan Kuehni, World Class Technician, Advantage Chevrolet Bolingbrook. The Die Hard category recognizes industry superfans who live, breathe, sleep, and thrive in their career.
- Outstanding Mentor – James Jacobsen, Master Technician, Lake Motor Company. The Outstanding Mentor category recognizes technicians for supporting and guiding the industry’s future techs.
- Pay it Forward – Bradley Hindman, Owner, Mission Auto Repair. The Pay it Forward category recognizes technicians for being community advocates and inspiring the next generation of techs.
- Rookie of the Year – Jinelee Galindez, Technician, Mercedes-Benz of South Orlando. The Rookie of the Year category recognizes up-and-coming tech professionals with under two years of professional experience.
Since 2018 the Techs Rock Awards have awarded more than $65,000 in prizes to 25 professional technicians in recognition of their excellence, passion, and commitment to driving the future of the mobility industry. Technicians will shape our future, and the Techs Rock Awards are made possible by TechForce donors who help shape theirs. In addition to providing prizes, Nissan and INFINITI are co-sponsoring the 2023 Techs Rock Awards to help TechForce celebrate all technicians’ contributions throughout the country and the industry.
The Techs Rock Awards are part of TechForce’s workforce development campaign to inspire and support tomorrow’s workforce of technicians. TechForce also created the first and only online community designed and gamified for professional technicians and tech students to connect with each other, employers, and schools (TechForce.org). The transportation community supports TechForce with content and uses it to learn, connect, find events, and explore job opportunities while competing for prizes and leaderboard status.
About TechForce Foundation
TechForce Foundation is a national nonprofit, 501(c)(3) with the mission to champion all students to and through their education and into careers as professional technicians. TechForce powers the technician workforce by awarding more than $2.3 million in scholarships and grants annually to financially disadvantaged students; changes perceptions towards this evolving, ‘new collar’ STEM career; and provides local career exploration and workforce development programming. TechForce’s online network of students, working technicians, instructors, employers, industry professionals and enthusiasts committed to championing the technician workforce is the conduit through which the charity delivers its free resources, programs and career hub for the benefit of aspiring technicians. For more information, visit techforce.org. Follow us on TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube.