Northeast broadcasting students earn back-to-back national championships; others earn silver, bronze

Story by Northeast Public Relations

ATLANTA, Ga – Students in one program sat Northeast Community College have earned another national championship while others won silver and bronze medals in competitions that showcase the workforce knowledge they have gained through their education.

The Media Arts – Broadcasting team captured the gold medal in their respective class during the 2022 SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference recently. In the competitions, students in skilled and technical education science work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in a myriad of occupations. The philosophy of the SkillsUSA championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.

Broadcasting students Ervin Dohmen, Elgin, Alexander Kasten, Brandon, So. Dak., Conner Luebbe, Garland, Zane Thompson, Anselmo took the first-place gold medal in the collegiate Broadcast News Production category. It is the third national championship earned by Northeast Broadcasting in this category. The program also won the top prize in the 2021 and 2018 national Skills USA competitions. 

In the contest, four-member teams have two hours to write and produce their rundown before the assigned contest time. Two students serve as the news anchor team, one student serves as the team’s director/technical director, and one student is the floor director. Teams then produces and completed a three-minute newscast as if it were live. Teams are evaluated on their broadcast writing ability, voice quality, diction, timing and pacing and performance techniques.

Brian Anderson, instructor of media arts – broadcasting at Northeast, said his students’ performance is a true testament to the work they do in their Media Arts classrooms and labs. 

“We had a team member drop out just two weeks before the competition. In a short amount of time, we had to make a substitution and plan for a rehearsal before we left for the contest,” he said. “These students pulled together, put the hammer down and really got the job done! This is a true showing of their skills. I’m so proud of them.”  

The gold medal winning performance at the national competition is the third in four years for Northeast Broadcasting. It is a competition they don’t take for granted.

“To earn a national championship in any area is big deal. There’s no one else in the country that can claim the title you hold,” Anderson said. “It represents excellence, hard work, determination, motivation, good work ethic and an intense understanding of the subject area. This is part of the framework of SkillsUSA, and this is what this contest and experience is all about.”  

In addition, eleven Northeast students medaled in other categories at the national event.

Earning silver are Tyler Earnest, Grand Island, in Architectural Drafting; Preston Paulson, Wayne, in Automotive Refinishing Technology; Jake Bartosh, Arlington, Ryen Haines, Ansley, Isaias Juarez, Neligh, in Crime Scene Investigation; and Hunter Howard, Meadow Grove, in Welding.

Bronze medal winners are Ethan Lavelle, Western, in Industrial Motor Control; Nicholas Frisch, Newman Grove, and Devon Unseld, Pierce, in Mechatronics; and Garrett Henery, Norfolk, Tielan Kotrous, Norfolk, in Robotics: Urban Search and Rescue.

In all, Northeast Community had 26 students in 16 categories who won state competition events in April to qualify for the national competition in Atlanta. They include:

Architectural Drafting – Tyler Earnest, Grand Island.

Automotive Refinishing Technology – Preston Paulson, Wayne.

Broadcast News Production – Ervin Dohmen, Elgin, Alexander Kasten, Brandon, So. Dak., Conner Luebbe, Garland, Zane Thompson, Anselmo.

Carpentry – Weston Haskell, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Collision Repair Technology – Zachary Mosier, Strang.

Crime Scene Investigation – Jake Bartosh, Arlington, Ryen Haines, Ansley, Isaias Juarez, Neligh.

Electrical Construction Wiring – Dean Orwig, Pierce.

HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, Refrigeration) – Brodie Christensen, Yankton, So. Dak.

Industrial Motor Control – Ethan Lavelle, Western.

Information Technology Services – Vaughn Finkral, Norfolk.

Masonry – Edward Olander, Winside.

Mechatronics – Nicholas Frisch, Newman Grove, Devon Unseld, Pierce.

Robotics: Urban Search & Rescue – Garrett Henery, Norfolk, Tielan Kotrous, Norfolk.

Teamworks Competition – Landon Bignell, Columbus, Kolby Dean, O’Neill, Aaron Disher, West Point, Cooper Hilgenkamp, Arlington

Technical Computer Applications – Nicholas Wood, Bertrand.

Welding – Hunter Howard, Meadow Grove.

“I am exceptionally proud of this year’s SkillsUSA team. It has been two-years since we competed face-to-face at the national level,” said Dr. Wade Herley, dean of business and humanities at Northeast. “The students and faculty were well prepared for the high level of competition they encountered in Atlanta. I was hoping for three national medals, and we came away with 15 medals in eight different contests. We ended the competition with more medals as an institution than some states, which is simply outstanding and a testament to our students’ hard work, our first-rate programs, and our faculty’s ability to prepare our students to compete against the best of the best.”

In addition to Herley and Anderson, other Northeast advisors who accompanied the students to the competition included Dave Beaudette, Auto Body Technology; Curtis Brandt, Building Construction; Richard Chrisman, Information Technology (retired); Wade Herley, dean of Business and Humanities; Tony Hoffman, Electrical Construction and Control; Ryan Hobza, Building Construction; John Knapp, Welding; Matt McCarthy, Criminal Justice; Brad Ranslem, associate dean of Applied Technology; Brian Rastede, Electrical Construction and Control; Eric Roskeland, Electromechanical Technology; Eric Ternus, Drafting; and Kenny Wurdinger, Information Technology.

The 58th annual SkillsUSA National Leadership Conference, the world’s largest showcase of skilled trades, featured 108 hands-on skills and leadership competitions at State Farm Arena and the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. More than 12,000 students, teachers, education leaders, and representatives from 650 national corporations, trade associations, businesses and labor unions participated.

SkillsUSA serves approximately 334,000 students and instructors annually. This includes 19,000 instructors who join as professional members. Including alumni, SkillsUSA membership totals over 394,000. SkillsUSA has served nearly 14 million annual members cumulatively since 1965 and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Labor as a successful model of employer-driven workforce development.

For more information on SkillsUSA, visit,