Hometown: Zeeland, Mich.
Representing the United States at WorldSkills in Heavy Vehicle Maintenance
When Ryan Meppelink was 15 years old, he –along with his cousin Darin – worked to overhaul Ryan’s father’s pickup truck. After completing that project, Ryan began thinking about a future in vehicle maintenance.
Darin, who worked as a technician at an equipment dealership, would soon prove to be a major influence in Ryan’s life.
“Nearly a year later, I woke up to the news that Darin had been killed in a car accident. I was broken beyond belief, and I knew immediately that my life story was being written. I didn’t want to sit idle in his memory – I wanted one thing, and one thing only. To make Darin proud.”
After the WorldSkills competition, Ryan aims to obtain a management position and, potentially, become a custom fleet consultant. But he also wants to give back to the programs that have helped him succeed by becoming a teacher.
Ryan credits his drive to a hunger for knowledge, knowing where he came from, and to those who have always stood behind him.
“I enjoy the challenges presented by the different systems I’m faced with, and the countless possibilities for failures. I have always wanted to be the absolute best I can be. ”
On competing in the WorldSkills competition:
“Being able to work through the selection process and ultimately be selected has been a great answer to prayer and diligent work. I am incredibly excited to represent my country on the WorldSkills stage, and I hope to make everyone proud of who we are as a nation.”
Advice for others:
“Don’t ever give up – on anything. In the world of mechanics, we all get thrown curve balls, be it a new problem, or an old one disguised. The only way we will learn and better ourselves is to never give up.”
On his faith:
“Through much of my training at the finalist level, I was consistently working 18 hour days between work and my studies. Knowing that I could turn to prayer was a solid rock for me. I have strived to put my faith first in all that I do.”