KANSAS CITY (July 2, 2012) – Rend Lake College architecture student Ethan Brammeier of Hoyleton (Nashville High School) brought home a bronze medal from the largest SkillsUSA national competition in history this past week.
    Brammeier finished third in the postsecondary division of architectural drafting CAD. With almost 40 official sponsors – names like Toyota, Lowe’s, Google and John Deere – and nearly 6,000 competitors, it was the biggest SkillsUSA national contest to date.  
    “I did not expect to get third at all,” he said. “I thought I might have placed in the top 10. I was shocked when I heard my name.” His prizes, in addition to the medal, included a 3D mouse and a premium architecture software package.
    Brammeier is the son of Randy and Lori Brammeier. Ethan said his decision to save money by enrolling in RLC’s architecture technology program - he graduated in May - was one of the smartest choices he’s ever made. His success in the SkillsUSA competition, he said, can be credited to his high school teachers Doug Kell and Keith Hagene, and his instructors at RLC, Kevin Weston and Matt Jackson.
    “One of my teachers who has really helped out a lot is Matt Jackson,” Brammeier said. “He taught us a lot of stuff. And Kevin taught us a lot with the architecture Revit software.”
    Brammeier thanked his friends and family for their support while he is pursuing his education. He feels his experience as an employee at DBG Construction in Nashville also gave him an advantage in the competition.
    “Knowing more about the construction ... how everything is put together, helped my score a lot I think.”

thumb SkillsUSA2012BrammeierMFront row L to R: High School medalists—Silver-Ashley Sousa, Davis Applied Tech Center (Utah); Gold-Ryan Verpooten, Shadow Ridge High School (Ariz.); Bronze-Jarret Beckett, Hillyard Technical Center (Mo.); and national technical committee member, Bethany Shuckney. Back row L to R: Postsecondary/college medalists—Silver-Brad Edlund, Ferris State University (Mich.); Gold-Futger Hill, Utah Valley University (Utah); and Bronze-Ethan Brammeier, Rend Lake College (Ill.).
    SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. Each year, RLC students compete in a variety of fields at the state level for the chance to show their skills at the national competition. Since Professor Weston established a chapter on campus in 2001, RLC has done very well in the architectural drafting CAD portion. Michael Mosler of Mount Vernon grabbed the gold hardware in 2009, Ryan Reu of Mount Vernon brought home silver in 2002 and Randy Jones of Bonnie won back-to-back bronze medals in 2010 and 2011.
    Brammeier finished behind two students enrolled in university programs. The silver medal in CAD went to Brad Edlund of Ferris State University in Michigan and gold was won by Rutger Hill, a student at Utah Valley University.
    Weston explained that Brammeier won first place at the state competition earlier this year, which qualified him for the national contest. Weston said Brammeier will be in the architectural studies program at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale this fall. Because he graduated from the RLC program, Brammeier takes advantage of the ‘2+2’ articulation agreement RLC has with SIUC and transfers in as a junior, Weston added.
    “I’m very proud of him,” Weston said. “He is an excellent student, very motivated and I am confident he will find more success at SIUC.”
    Brammeier said he would like to operate his own architecture firm one day. The next step is in Carbondale. He is excited to get started.
    “I think [Jackson] being a graduate of the master’s program [at SIUC]  ... we have been taught a lot about what to expect when we go down there. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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