Andy Hastreiter takes first at SkillsUSA Championship
By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield High School (MHS) senior Andy Hastreiter recently took first place and earned a gold medal at a national SkillsUSA Championship held in Louisville, Ky., in the competitive category of electronics technology.
SkillsUSA is an organization that strives to improve the quality of the American workforce through club activities and competitions like the one Hastreiter just won. The organization has district, regional, state, and national competitions, and at the national level there is every category imaginable, for example cabinet making, crime scene investigation, practical nursing, and dozens more.
Hastreiter placed first at the state competition, a prerequisite for making it to the national level. The Marshfield chapter of SkillsUSA, which has 24 members, also placed either first, second, or third at the state level competitions in electronics, machining, computer maintenance technology, carpentry, and model rocketry. It was the best ever year for the Marshfield group at the state competition.
For Hastreiter it was his second year competing on the national level in electronics technology, having taken seventh place last year. A family tradition with electronics has allowed Hastreiter to reach such elite heights in national competitions.
“I can’t claim to teach him any of this stuff. His dad is really big into electronics,” said MHS Technology Education Instructor and SkillsUSA advisor Caleb Henderson. “He’s sort of had an upbringing in electronics for a long time. … He’s fantastic.”
The competition Hastreiter won involved various elements of electronics knowledge, including soldering a circuit board to certain specifications, a customer service test, knowledge of electronic components, troubleshooting, and building test circuits. Henderson said industry leaders and college professors in the concerned areas are generally the judges for competitions at SkillsUSA.
“It’s pretty high-end stuff. I’m not even that good at it, and I teach the electronics class,” Henderson said.
“I do multiple projects at home. My favorite I guess would be my amplifier that I built, nice high-powered one,” Hastreiter said.
Andy’s mother Donna said that his electronics genius is indeed a product of a family culture.
“I have three boys, and they’re all this way,” Donna said with a laugh. “They’ve been taking electronic things apart and soldering and fixing things for as long as I can remember, all of them, from the time that they were 5 probably.”
Andy said that a likely career option for him is to become an electrical engineer and added that he still has a lot to learn. He plans to attend college after his senior year, and one of the things he earned along with first place at the SkillsUSA competition is a full tuition scholarship to Lincoln Tech, though he is undecided on where he wants to go. He also won a $250 Visa gift card, an oscilloscope, flight simulator software, a host of tools, and more.
“Some of the prizes they give out are thousands of dollars,” Henderson said.
“It was really exciting, and I was glad that he was able to perform so well and win,” Donna said of Andy’s gold-medal performance.
To learn more about SkillsUSA, visit skillsusa.org.