Kia University, the training arm of Kia Motors America (KMA), hosted the biennial Kia Skill National Cup competition at the company’s headquarters in Irvine, Calif., to determine the top master-level technicians from each of the company’s four regions (eastern, southern, central and western). The winning technicians on the national level will represent their respective dealerships and the U.S. at the Kia Skill World Cup, June 11-15 at the Chonan Technical Service Training Center in Seoul, South Korea. Kia’s Skill Cup competitions encourage technicians to hone their technical skills to keep pace with the company’s engineering advancements while promoting customer-care excellence and professional conduct.
To qualify for the competition, technicians are given a 50-question online test, which requires comprehensive knowledge of Kia’s powertrain designs, electrical systems and onboard vehicle management software. Only the top four test-takers in each of the four regions are selected to participate in the National Skill Cup challenge, a hands-on contest, in which technicians are judged on their ability to accurately execute Kia’s five-step diagnostic process and successfully repair vehicles within specified time limits. While focusing on several diagnostic areas, participants most notably demonstrated their troubleshooting skills with Kia’s latest drivetrain technologies, including that of the popular Optima Hybrid. In addition, finalists were judged on customer service criteria such as professionalism, safety and clean-up.
Of the 16 national finalists, only four will travel to Korea to compete for the honor of Kia’s top technician in the Kia Skill World Cup. They are Jason Powell, Fox Kia; Michael Schwartz, Kia of Lynchburg; Ken Winders, Gene Messer Kia; and Christopher Cooley, Salazar Kia. See below for the full results of the 2012 Kia Skill National Cup.
1st Jason Powell, Fox Kia, Grand Rapids, Mich.
2nd Max Umbs, Dick Brantmeier Kia, Sheboygan, Wis.
3rd Tim Clark, Jeff Belzer’s Kia, Lakeville, Minn.
4th William Barcklay, Montrose Kia, Sheffield, Ohio
1st Michael Schwartz, Kia of Lynchburg, Lynchburg, Va.
2nd Robert Worman Jr., Lehighton Kia, Lehighton, Pa.
3rd Blair Vile, Steven Kia, Harrisonburg, Va.
4th Thomas Cinque, Auto World Kia, East Meadow, N.Y.
1st Ken Winders, Gene Messer Kia, Lubbock, Texas
2nd Eddie Miller, Grindstaff Kia of Johnson City, Johnson City, Tenn.
3rd Dean Dewitt, Bob Dance Kia, Merritt Island, Fla.
4th Tommy Latulipe, Rusty Wallace Kia of Knoxville, Knoxville, Tenn.
1st Christopher Cooley, Salazar Kia, Avondale, Ariz.
2nd James Baker, Christopher Kia, Salt Lake, Salt Lake City
3rd Thomas Cruz, The Kia Depot, Santa Ana, Calif.
4th Robert Laursen, Larry H. Miller Kia Lakewood, Lakewood, Colo.