April 29, 2024


Holland, MI- Gavin Grifhorst, a homeschooled senior in the Diesel/Heavy Equipment Mechanics program at Careerline Tech Center won first place in the SkillsUSA Michigan State Championship Diesel Equipment Technology competition at AIS Construction Equipment in Grand Rapids on April 13.

CTC Skills USA Winners smiling with their awards

The win qualifies Grifhorst for the SkillsUSA National Conference in Atlanta, Georgia June 24 – 28.

Jason Alberda, Diesel/HEM Instructor for Careerline Tech Center said watching students do what they love and have success is incredibly rewarding.

“These students invested a ton of time preparing for the contest and it shows,” Alberda said. “We are proud of all of our students and excited to support Gavin at the National competition.”

The Diesel/HEM program at Tech offers a two-year program for those who would like to continue their studies. During the first year, students learn about the operation, maintenance, and overhaul of diesel-powered equipment and complete at least one engine overhaul. Students who continue with the program learn to troubleshoot and repair customer-owned equipment in their second year.

Students spent nearly three hours demonstrating their technical skills and knowledge. Categories included running engine, drivetrain components, braking system, electrical, hydraulic, shop practices, engine fundamentals and measurement. Soft skills were also evaluated in a mock employment interview.

“I want to thank Careerline Tech Center for this opportunity and for pushing me to do better,” Grifhorst said.

Zackary DeKryger, Allendale High School senior, and homeschooled senior Jacob Moore, also qualified and participated in the State Championship with DeKryger winning second place in the competition. 

Also notable, Zeeland High School senior Tristan Overweg took second place in the inaugural Heavy Equipment Operator competition sponsored by the Operator Engineer 324 Union and hosted at MacAllister Rentals in Byron Center.

“It was suspenseful being the first Tech Center student to compete in the Heavy Equipment Operator state contest and not knowing what it was about,” Overweg said. “I still managed a second-place finish in the state contest and had a great time doing it.”

For more information, contact Michelle Ready at 616. 738-8940 x. 4093

Careerline Tech Center
Operated by Ottawa Area ISD, Careerline Tech Center prepares high school juniors and seniors for tomorrow's workforce by providing career and technical education in 29 career areas. CTC serves students from public and private high schools, as well as those who are homeschooled, within the following local school districts: Allendale, Coopersville, Grand Haven, Hamilton, Holland, Hudsonville, Jenison, Saugatuck, Spring Lake, West Ottawa, and Zeeland.