Chalk it up to his penchant for business, rather than his experience in the field of automotive sales.
It’s that sound business sense, says Wellesley’s David Skinner, that allowed him to pick up four DECA awards at a competition in Toronto at the beginning of the month.
“I have pretty much no experience with [cars], specifically; I’ve never worked on cars, we don’t own a dealership – it’s just knowing your business and marketing that got me really far,” said the Grade 12 student at Waterloo Oxford District Secondary School.
Though he knows enough about cars and car parts to “get by,” Skinner admittedly relied more on his businesses savvy to excel at the DECA Ontario competition held in Toronto Feb. 5-6.
Competing in the automotive services marketing category of the competition, Skinner picked up four awards at the provincial competition, which gives students hands-on experiences in the fields of business, marketing, and entrepreneurship. The organization strives to enhance classroom learning by providing conferences and competitions that develop high school students into character-driven leaders.
When he first signed on to the competition, Skinner couldn’t decide which category (hospitality, automotive, apparel, sports or entertainment) he preferred, and so by default, he landed in the automotive sector.
Judged by members of the local business community, Skinner was among hundreds of competitors from Ontario schools who were faced with a number of theoretical and virtual challenges, including tests, role playing games and speeches. For the role playing challenges, competitors were asked to provide solutions for business problems.
For his part, Skinner became the ‘owner’ of a parts dealership that was encountering discrepancies between inventory numbers and actual stocked product leaving the warehouse. Losing profits as products didn’t match up with the orders, Skinner’s plan included a new inventory system using radio frequency tags to track product.
Faring well in all his categories – top-10 overall (Automotive); top-20 test portion; and top-20 in role playing (two times) – Skinner earned four medals and a first place plaque. Even better, he now gets a chance to take part in the international competition in Anaheim, California in late April.
Though he realizes that coming up with $1,400 for the trip is no easy task, Skinner, who is accepting donations from the community, is excited about traveling to sunny California.
“There’s no reason why I wouldn’t be – eight days in California,” said Skinner, noting that Universal Studios is just one of the many stops on the itinerary.
“It really is a chance of lifetime.”
The competition will bring together students from North America as well as Europe, offering them a chance to network, said Skinner.
“It’s always good to know as many people as you can, network with a lot of people, because they can help you out in the future if you ever want to get a job or need contacts in a certain industry,” said Skinner, noting that he plans on studying business and/or music at university when he finishes high school.
Skinner, a guitar player and teacher, has pondered launching some kind of a business related in some way to music: maybe a recording studio or a production company, or a guitar manufacturer.
“Owning a company like that would be cool because there’s a business side to it and then you can also make guitars and that’s something I like a lot … putting those together.”
To help support his to trip to the international competition in Anaheim, call 519-656-3170.