Lou Dropka, a faculty member with Conestoga’s Mechanical Technician program, has been honoured with the Glenn Beatty award from Skills Ontario. The award is presented annually to a Skills Ontario volunteer.
Glenn Beatty was a student participant in the CAD, CAM and CNC contests at the Ontario Technological Skills Competition (OTSC) and won a gold medal in the 1997. The OTSC is hosted by Skills Ontario and involves high school and college students who compete in skilled trades and technologies contests. Following his provincial win, Beatty also won gold in the national skills competition.
Beatty returned to Skills Ontario in 1998 as a volunteer and gave his time to the organization until 1999 when he lost his life to a tragic motor vehicle accident. As a tribute each year, Skills Ontario presents the Glenn Beatty Award to a volunteer, or volunteers, who embody the same dedication and passion for Skills Ontario as Beatty did.
Dropka has volunteered his time to the CNC Milling contests at Skills Canada since 2003 and became involved with Skills Ontario in 2004. He has also been involved with the World Skills competition since 2007 making trips to Japan and Brazil. In November he attended Euro Skills in Sweden.
“Few people know what CNC is, so it’s really important to get involved with the competitions to promote the trade and to let others know what programs Conestoga offers,” said Dropka. “There’s also a great sense of accomplishment when the students you work with succeed at the contests.”
In addition to working with students and organizing contests, Dropka also connects with industry partners regularly to secure tools and machinery for the competitions.
The Ontario Technological Skills Competition has grown over the years and now involves over 2,000 competitors from high schools and colleges across Ontario who compete in nearly 70 skilled trades and technologies contests. Since 1997, Conestoga has served as the host college for the event and has been a proud sponsor and supplier of the competition. Staff and faculty have served as volunteers, trainers, technical chairs and experts in a range of disciplines to support it.
Conestoga has been honoured with the OTSC’s College Award of Distinction in 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2016.