Former Algonquin College trucking student wins gold medal at provincial competition

Gage Kuemper, a Motive Power Techniques truck and coach apprenticeship student, triumphed in the Skills Ontario Competition 2024
Photo: Agrani Tiwari
Gage Kuemper, the gold medal winner in truck and coach at the Skills Ontario Competition.

Gage Kuemper, Algonquin College graduate, won the gold medal in Truck and Coach at the Skills Ontario Competition on May 6 and 7.

“Initially I wasn’t going to be doing it because I’m moving back to Edmonton, Alta. fairly soon,” said Kuemper. “But [my professors] told me it was right after apprenticeship ended… so then I was like yeah, I guess I could give it a shot.”

Kuemper got help from his teachers in preparing for the competition. “I met up with Peter, Cody, Phil, and Travis [professors in the truck and coach department at Algonquin College]. They gave me a rundown of how everything is going to go. Gave me some pointers … [they advised that] if I got stuck on a certain question, just move on. The best thing that you can do is just try and get as many answers filled in as you can.”

Kuemper’s skill and adaptability were some of the reasons he was chosen to compete, according to his professors. “Our selection of Gage for the competition was based on many points,” said Peter Coady, professor of Mechanical and Transportation Technology. “His academic scores across all subjects, and his proficiency in the lab were one reason. But also his ability to adapt to the various problems that can arise in a competitive environment.”

The truck worked on by students and apprentices of the truck and coach in the Transportation Lab.
The truck worked on by students and apprentices of the truck and coach in the Transportation Lab. Photo credit: Agrani Tiwari

The competition tested participants’ knowledge of their professions. “There’s eight different stations that we work at. There’ll be engines, electrical, hydraulics, steering and suspension, brakes, driveline and trade practices,” Kuemper explained. “At each individual station, it’ll have a series of questions that it wants you to do, or tasks that it wants you to achieve. You’ll also have to take precision measurements and obtain the right measurement … they’re grading you based on how well you know the job.”

Nineteen Algonquin students competed in this year’s event. Some of the other competitors and their medals are as follows: Hailey Reed, silver in Auto Paint; Lovepreet Singh, silver in Architecture Technician; Stephane Gagnon, silver in IT Networking, Gabriel Romero, bronze in IT Networking and Arlo Gosham-Hamer, bronze in Photography.

Kuemper’s victory proved he knows his stuff. “I’m very happy that Gage was able to win Gold in the Truck/Coach competition for 310T Apprentices,” said Coady. “I think it demonstrates his complete understanding of all the major systems related to the trade.”

Kuemper was ecstatic about winning gold: “[I was] so thrilled. I knew that my daughter and my wife were watching on the TV, and it felt awesome that I was going to be on top while they were watching, and the rest of my family as well.”

“Gage is one of the best apprentices/students we have had in quite some time,” said Martin Restoule, Transportation Trades Coordinator at the college. “We expected him to do well, but we didn’t know how well.”

Trucks parked in the Transportation Lab in the S-building also knows as Transportation Technology Centre.
Trucks parked in the Transportation Lab in the S-building also knows as Transportation Technology Centre. Photo credit: Agrani Tiwari

Kuemper plans to return to Alberta and the engine mechanic business he used to work at before coming to Ontario. “I’d like to continue building my skill set in the transportation industry as a truck and coach mechanic, or become some sort of business owner [or] business partner,” he said.

To any future Skills Ontario contestants, Kuemper has this advice: “When you’re going into the skills competition, it’s gonna be everything that’s about the job. Nothing’s gonna be new or a curve ball, in my eyes … if there’s anything that’s like very straightforward. What is the specification on a certain part, just find that first, it’s easy points to get down.”

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