Derek Summers

WAYNE STATE College Student Derek Summers of Norfolk poses with his award-winning wood pieces. On top of being a student and competing with Skills USA, Summers owns his own business in Norfolk called Summers Cabinetry.

WAYNE — Derek Summers competes nationally and statewide in cabinet making.

The Wayne State student and Norfolk High grad owns a business, Summers Cabinetry in Norfolk, and helps high school students learn more about cabinetry and Wayne State College’s Skills USA Chapter.

Skills USA is a competition where people compete in various divisions, including cabinet making.

Summers has received first place for cabinet making at the Skills USA state competition in Grand Island for the past two years. He also has competed nationally in cabinet making and received third place this past year.

“I make kitchen cabinets for customers,” Summers said. “As far as it goes, I started off making cabinets because of my high school shop teacher. He got me going with it, and that’s where I started.”

Greg Vander Weil, assistant professor and adviser for WSC’s Skills USA chapter, said as a freshman, Summers was encouraged to compete at the state contest.

“He has a great resumé coming out of high school with his own cabinet shop,” Vander Weil said. “He won cabinet making his freshman year, went to the national contest, did very well. Second year he repeated as the state champion and went to the national contest and finished third in the nation. I am very proud of Derek. A lot of the credit goes to his competitive desire and skills he brought to Wayne State. Derek is very coachable and takes advice from the faculty and makes good use of it and is a great man to work with.”

Vander Weil has been in the Skills USA organization for 38 years. He said there are a wide variety of competitions ranging from culinary arts to early childhood to criminal justice and robotics.

Wayne State’s Skills USA chapter goes beyond the carpentry major. Club meeting times are posted at Vander Weil’s office.

Summers helped high school students learn more about cabinet making for the Fall Leadership Workshop with Skills USA last month.

Summers said he and others who are part of Skills USA taught students about career opportunities that are offered. The students learned about equipment for different careers and skills in construction, manufacturing, energy and transportation.

Twelve schools attended and about 170 students and people from the industry attended.

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