America’s Top Auto Technicians: Greater New York High School Students Take 1st Place at National Auto Technology Competition

$3+ Million Dollars in Scholarships & Prizes Awarded to Participants; Over Two Decades of Encouraging and Supporting a New Generation of Technicians

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Riverhead, New York – April 15, 2013:  Casey Cotrone and Ryan Lafata, seniors at H.B. Ward Technical High School in Riverhead, New York, finished in 1st place at the 2013 National Automotive Technology Competition. The students are sponsored by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association.  The Competition, the auto industry’s largest school-to-work initiative, pits the nation’s best high school automotive vocational education students against one another for the title of ‘America’s Top Technician’. 

The National Finals, held in New York in conjunction with the New York International Automobile Show, are possible thanks to the generous contributions of over 125 industry sponsors including automakers, industry organizations, OEM suppliers, educational institutions, and dealers associations from across the country.  This year, prizes and scholarships totaling more than $3 million were awarded to the participants.  Snap-on, the Competition’s Official Tool Supplier, provided tool sets to all competitors.

“The automobile industry is one of the most technically advanced there is and we need highly motivated and talented young people – like those in this Competition -- in dealerships across the country to make sure vehicle owners have access to technicians with the best computer and technical skills,” said Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association. 

 “Preparing and supporting young people for high-paying careers in the automobile industry is what this Competition is all about,” he continued.

National Finals: Top 3 Teams:  

First Place:          
Students: Casey Cotrone and Ryan Lafata (Team Honda)

School: H.B. Ward Technical High School
Instructer: Michael O'Hara
Supporting Association: Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association                                 

Second Place:     
Students: Alex Conrad and Mitch DelCamp (Team Lexus)

School: Grafton High School, Grafton, WI
Instructor: Carl Hader  

Supporting Association:  Automobile Dealers Association of Mega Milwaukee

Third Place:         
Students: Tyler Abbott and Bradley Griffin (Team Lexus)

School: Parkside High School, Salisbury, Maryland
Instructor: David White 

Supporting Association: Maryland Automobile Dealers Association

“Over the past two decades the National Automotive Technology Competition has established itself as a leader in automotive education, piquing the interest of thousands of students each year.  It gives students the opportunity to develop their skills in a fun, competitive, and rewarding environment.  With the increasing use of sophisticated technology in cars today as well as an aging work population, it’s critical that the automobile industry attracts talented, young minds into this business,” Schienberg added.

How the Contest Works

The rules of the contest are simple. Each team of students is assigned an automobile that is rigged to malfunction in a number of ways. Using a repair order with actual customer complaints, the student teams must diagnose and repair the problem within the allotted time, using the manufacturer’s specialty tools.  Each “bug” correctly diagnosed and repaired is worth a number of points, depending on the level of difficulty. 

In addition, the students’ knowledge of emissions control systems, alignment, electrical test equipment, airbag components, oscilloscope usage and mechanical measurement equipment is tested during a series of intensive work station sessions.  To prepare for the competition, students are trained at local new car dealerships and the skills they learn from master technicians prepare them to succeed in the working world. 

The National Automotive Technology Competition was founded by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association and is held at the New York International Auto Show.  It is an industry-wide school-to-work initiative supported by nearly every major automaker, technical institutions, OEM suppliers, automotive parts and supplies companies, individual dealers, and dealers associations across the country.  For more information visit


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1st Place Prizes Include:

For the Students:

  • Snap-on Gift Certificate for $10,000 of Snap-on Tools compliments of General Motors
  • Snap-on Top & Bottom Tool Box compliments of Snap-on Tools
  • Snap-on Tool Bag compliments of Snap-on Tools
  • Snap-on Cordless Screw Gun Kit compliments of Snap-on Tools
  • Automotive Training Center Full Tuition Scholarship
  • Lincoln Technical Institute Full Tuition Scholarship
  • University of Northwestern Ohio Full Tuition Scholarship
  • Universal Technical Institute Full Core Program Tuition Scholarship
  • Ohio Technical College $20,000 Scholarship
  • New England Institute of Technology $2,000 Scholarship
  • Gifts from Lincoln Technical Institute
  • Gifts from General Motors
  • Gifts from Follow-A-Dream
  • Gifts from Tenneco
  • GNYADA National Competition First Place Gold Medallion

 For the School:

  • Toyota Donation Vehicle for their Automotive Department compliments of Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc. – Toyota T-TEN
  • Lee Hunter Memorial Award compliments of Hunter Engineering Company
  • Megatech Corporation’s newest Electricity, Magnetism, and Materials Solution Trainer compliments of Megatech Corporation
  • Motor Age Training’s Complete Car & Light Truck Automotive Set Digital Edition (A1-A9)
  • Electude International School License for 25 Students’ Access to their Online Automotive Training Programs
  • Consulab Educatech Automotive Training Package ($500 gift certificate)
  • National Competition First Place Trophy



Headquartered in Whitestone, New York, the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA) represents 425 franchised automobile dealerships in the metro area of New York.  GNYADA owns and operates the Center for Automotive Education & Training, and the New York International Automobile Show.  The Association opened its doors in 1910 and has continued to serve the needs of the industry and the car-buying public ever since.    


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