30 Under 30: Ronald Olkowski III
Big Rapids, MI
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By the time you read this, Ronald Olkowski will be in Leipzig, Germany, representing the United States in the CNC Turning competition during the biennial WorldSkills Competition—the Olympics of vocational skills. The 42nd international event is being held July 2–7, 2013.
“I’m looking forward to meeting other people from around the world and seeing what they have to bring to the table. I’m also interested in learning new methods of machining,” Ronald said. “I’ve never seen the machines that I’ll be competing on, so I’m a little nervous about learning the software, getting familiar with the machines, and getting the software and the machines to work together.”
In the CNC turning event, competitors are given ferrous and non-ferrous raw material and technical drawings. According to SkillsUSA, “the desired workpieces must be worked on all sides so that the competitor carries out tasks that reflect runout, perpendicularity, parallelity and other setup challenges.” The competitor must “prepare the CNC programs; calculate the points of intersection on profiles; select the proper tools and independently mount, set-up and measure them; machine and measure the test project” and, of course, comply with safety regulations.
Ronald was awarded the bronze medal in CNC Turning in November 2012 during the WorldSkills Americas competition in Brazil, where the US competed against 23 other countries in preparation for the WorldSkills Competition. He got there by winning the high school silver medal in CNC Turning during the SkillsUSA Championships in June 2010, as well as the college/postsecondary bronze medal in CNC Turning at the 2011 SkillsUSA Championships.
As if that wasn’t enough, Ronald also placed first in the Michigan Industry Technology Education Society competition in 2009 and second in 2010. He also received Ferris State’s College of Engineering Technology Student of the Year award for 2011–2012. He currently serves as president of the university’s SME student chapter.
Ronald attended Romeo High School in Romeo, MI. Guy Hart, Ronald’s shop instructor, SkillsUSA advisor, and now his technical expert for the WorldSkills Competition, said, “Ron came into my machine tool program as a freshman in 2006 and found his future calling. By the end of his senior year, he had become a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge he could. Once something is explained to him, he takes off with it. He is always questioning to learn more and is constantly applying his knowledge.”
At Ferris State University, Ronald is studying manufacturing and engineering technologies and is also a student teacher., assisting in a general machining course and an advanced manufacturing class. He has worked for several summers at Makino Die/Mold Technologies in Auburn Hills, MI under the supervision of Andre Ey.
“During his employment with us, Ron has demonstrated that he is a very energetic future engineer who has taken to the world of machining with passion and enthusiasm that is rare in today’s youth,” Ey said. ME