Under the Hood Again… in London!

Local mechanic gears up for world’s largest skills competition

October 10, 2011

SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIF. — Local automotive technician Daniel Lehmkuhl will join 16 other Americans in London, England next week as the official US representatives at the 41st WorldSkills International Competition.

After two years, hundreds of hours in preparation, and over 10,000 combined travel miles for training, Lehmkuhl, 22, will board a plane tomorrow to meet up with his SkillsUSA WorldTeam in Washington, D.C., where President Barack Obama will see them off for their trip to London to compete in the competition. The team will test its abilities against 1,000 students from around the world.

“I’m a very competitive person, and I’m looking forward to the challenge of the competition. There are a lot of unknowns, and we’ll be working on right-hand drive cars, which will be different for me,” Lehmkuhl said. “But I’m also looking forward to the cultural side of the event. So many different countries and regions will be represented with 36 different skill areas. It’s going to be a really cool experience.”

This year’s WorldSkills competition will be the largest international skills competition, ever. Next week, from Oct. 5 to 8, hundreds of thousands of visitors are expected to see competitors from more than 50 countries and regions competing in 46 skill areas over the four-day competition. Lehmkuhl earned his spot on the USA WorldTeam by winning local, district and national contests under the SkillsUSA program, the vocational equivalent of organizations like Future Farmers of America and Future Teachers of America.

Currently working full-time at Rizzoli’s Automotive, Lehmkuhl has been preparing for this competition his entire life. Lehmkuhl’s father has been the auto shop instructor at San Luis Obispo High School for 22 years, and by the time Lehmkuhl was a high school senior, he had won the regional, state and national automotive technician competitions. Overall, he’s racked up dozens of awards in automotive contests, with the pinnacle being when he was named last year as a competitor for this year’s USA WorldTeam. He also won the silver medal at the International Automotive Skills Olympics held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last year.

Lehmkuhl attends Cuesta College and plans to transfer to California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo to earn a bachelor’s degree in industrial technology, along with a teaching credential. In the last four months, he has taken a lot of time off of work to fly all over the country for manufacture factory training from Mini Cooper, Honda, Chrysler and Ford.

“Rizzoli’s has sponsored and supported me through this whole process,” Lehmkuhl said. “I appreciate everything the Rizzoli family has done for me. I wouldn’t be here without their support.”

Follow Lehmkuhl’s travels and competitions at www.daniellehmkuhl.blogspot.com or all Kyle Rizzoli at (805) 541-1082 for more information.

Rizzoli’s Automotive