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Tulsa Tech Instructor Earns Second Place in National Competition

The desire to do our best in activities is instilled in us from a young age.

Our parents tell us to do the best we can in school, and as we progress through our careers, employers ask us to be our best selves. For two Tulsa Tech instructors, that meant taking part in the Aero Skills Tournament regionals.

“We were fabricating to blueprints. We had to figure the proper dimension, drill our holes and then shoot it together,” Airframe 1 Instructor Joey Bartek said, describing the competition. “After we get that piece inspected we then have to repair a part. The goal is to be the fastest and the most accurate.”

Bartek and Aerospace Structures Instructor Brent Duvall took part in the Regional Top Gun Competition in Wichita. Regional winners earn the opportunity to compete on the national level. The competition puts the skills they teach every day to the test.

“It shows I still have the skills that I teach every day,” Bartek joked. “I enjoy getting to compete, but it’s not about winning. I try to stay humble and focus on making sure my students know they have the skills to compete as well.”

Bartek took the top spot within the region, while Duvall finished in third. The tournament stoked the competitive fire inside Duvall and has him aiming to unseat his next-door neighbor at the Riverside Campus.

“I am a competitive person and knowing I didn’t place first makes me want to do better next time,” Duvall said with a smile. “I am happy for Joey (Bartek), he has competed before and I think he deserved the win.”

Bartek teaches Airframe 1, it is part of the program to help students earn their federal Airframe and Powerplant (A&P) license. While Duvall teaches Aerospace Structures, it is part of a unique partnership with Tulsa-based NORDAM. Graduates of the program take certification tests and top candidates will get the opportunity to work at NORDAM.

“These competitions help relate the skills we are teaching to real-life,” Duvall said. “I think two instructors in the top three shows the talent we have teaching the next generation.” Bartek went on to earn second place in the professional division at the national championships in Las Vegas, NV in late February.