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Diesel Service wiz uses competition to fire up bright future
Story and Photos by Janis Nichols.
It’s unusual to meet a 17 year old who knows who he is and where he’s going. Marcus Nikitins is a gearhead on a mission.
The son of John Nikitins and Barbara Gill of Beaverton, Marcus is a senior at Sunset High School and is also enrolled in the Diesel Service Technology Program at the Rock Creek Campus. Last month he won the SkillsUSA Diesel Equipment Technology state championship hosted by the college.
He competed against a dozen Oregon high school and college students in a timed event that, among other things, tested his knowledge of diesel engines, transmissions, differentials, hydraulics and applied failure analysis. He won a scholarship to Universal Technical Institute in Arizona, but his next stop is an all-expenses-paid trip to Missouri.
In June, Nikitins will represent PCC at the SkillsUSA national competition in Kansas City, Mo. The event partners industry, labor and education and welcomes approximately 5,000 individuals who compete in the $35 million event that covers exhibition space the size of 16 football fields.
“When I first learned about the SkillsUSA competition, I wasn’t sure I had the time for it because of my schedule,” he said. “I was pretty casual about the whole thing. Now that I’m going to nationals, I’m more focused on what it might mean in terms of getting a job. My dream job is working as a large engine specialist, doing engine rebuilds or maintaining generators.”
PCC has been involved in the SkillsUSA competition for about 10 years and has placed third in the nationals twice. In 2010, PCC ranked 10th in the nation.
“These events strengthen our relationships with industry and they give our students additional training and a chance to test themselves,” said Russ Dunnington, Diesel Service Technology chair and campus event coordinator. “The job market in diesel technology is decent. We post an average of one to two jobs per week. The need for trained technicians is driven by changing emission standards and we don’t see that changing any time soon.”
Nikitins will complete his associate’s degree in September and wants to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Diesel Technology at Montana State University before attending UTI in Arizona.