Colorado STEM Team to Open CARS’ Grow Your Own Technicians Program at AAPEX

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Sept. 28, 2017—The Automotive Service Association (ASA) and the Congress of Automotive Repair and Service (CARS) are proud to announce that the Wheat Ridge High School Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) team will open the CARS Grow Your Own Technicians program Friday, Nov. 3, at CARS@AAPEX in Las Vegas.

Bill Haas, AAM, owner of Haas Performance Consulting in Haltom City, Texas, and industry veteran, will interview the two-time Shell Eco-marathon-championship team about its past and future projects. Haas will also host a short PowerPoint presentation created by the Wheat Ridge STEM students, showing where they have come from and where they are going in the future.

“With so much concern about where the next generation of technicians will come from, it’s important to spotlight the ongoing accomplishments of young Americans who are dedicating themselves to making strides in the vital areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” says Donny Seyfer, AMAM, CARS event organizer and former ASA chairman.

Begun in the fall of 2014 with 16 students and a teacher with a mission, the school’s STEM activities have grown to include four different projects—two vehicles for the Shell Eco-marathon, a Human Powered Vehicle for the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge and a Human Powered Vehicle for the University of Colorado Denver competition—as well as about 80 students and seven full- and part-time instructors/consultants from all across the Denver metro area. The program and students’ travel are supported through sponsorships from Advance Professional, CARQUEST TechNet and CARQUEST Technical.

Founder Charles L. Sprague, a Wheat Ridge science teacher and alumni, successfully built the team from valedictorians and at-risk students who worked side by side. Together, they’ve designed, built, competed and won various STEM competitions, including the Shell Eco-marathon (two championships and a runner-up in their first three years), NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge (second place for first-time high schools) and a Human Powered Vehicle for University of Colorado Denver’s pilot year (participant).

The team performs its own fundraising, marketing, design, machine work, welding, assembly and carbon fiber layup, with the students specializing in their specific areas of interest. Along the way, instructors and local businesses have served as guides, advisers and mentors. However, the success of the projects rests entirely on the efforts of the students, who often work nights and weekends to stay on schedule.

For more information on the Grow Your Own Technicians event and to see a video preview of the students’ visual presentation, check out the CARS@AAPEX home page at

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