Harbor Freight Awards Trades Teachers

 More Than $1 Million in Prizes have been awarded to High School Skilled Trades Teachers.


Three public high school skilled trades teachers—a welding teacher from Georgia, a building trades teacher from Michigan and an industrial diesel mechanics teacher from Ohio—are the first‐place winners of the 2018 Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence.

They and their schools, and 15 second‐place winners and their schools, will receive more than $1 million in prizes.

The first‐place winners are Gary Bronson, an industrial diesel mechanics teacher at Laurel Oaks Career Campus in Wilmington, Ohio; Charles Kachmar, who teaches metals and welding at Maxwell High School of Technology in Lawrenceville, Ga.; and Andrew J. Neumann, a building trades teacher at Bay Arenac Intermediate School District Career Center in Bay City, Mich. Each will receive $100,000—$70,000 for the high school skilled trades program and $30,000 to the teacher.

Each of the fifteen second‐place winners across the country and their schools will receive $50,000, and Harbor Freight Tools donated $34,000 to 34 semi‐finalists.

The prize was started in 2017 by Harbor Freight Tools Founder Eric Smidt to recognize extraordinary public high school skilled trades teachers and programs with a proven track record of dedication and performance. The prize is awarded by Harbor Freight Tools for Schools, a program of The Smidt Foundation.

“These incredible teachers are an inspiration—to their students, to their communities and to us,” said Eric Smidt, Harbor Freight Tools founder. “They are masters of their trades and instill in their students a passion for the skilled trades that gives them a path to a meaningful, good‐ paying career. These are local jobs in every community across America, building and repairing homes, fixing cars and appliances, and so much more. We’re honored to be able to recognize these teachers for inspiring and developing the future workforce our country needs.”

For more information about the Harbor Freight Tools for Schools Prize for Teaching Excellence, including the final round panels of judges, please visit hftforschoolsprize.org.