Meridian News
May 24, 2022

Cantrell Haley is the recipient of the 2022 Salute to the Skilled Workforce award from Kinnunen Sales and Rental.

The award, created in 2018 by Greg Hughes, owner of Kinnunen Sales and Rental, recognizes an outstanding construction trades student at Meridian Technology Center. Stanley Black + Decker’s DeWALT tools is a contributing partner to this year’s award. Students eligible for the Salute to the Skilled Workforce award must have completed one of the school’s trades programs – Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Carpentry, Electrical Technology, Facilities Management or Masonry.

The Salute to the Skilled Workforce award includes $1,000 to purchase tools from Kinnunen Sales and Rental. Hughes hopes to encourage others in the industry to find ways to recognize construction trades students.

“The demand for skilled workers in the construction industry continues to grow,” Hughes said. “The number of students who choose to pursue this path continues to decline despite the necessity of workers. We want to recognize and reward students committed to this industry and building their future at Meridian.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates more than 150,000 jobs in construction will open each year from now until 2030. Hughes hopes that by bringing attention to the need for skilled workers, more students will see this as an ideal career path.

Worthy of a Salute

Haley is a student in the Masonry program at Meridian. This is his second program at Tech. He attended Meridian during his senior year of high school and completed the Facilities Management program in May 2020. Haley returned to Tech in August 2020 to study Masonry and recently completed his training. Haley and former Masonry student Colby Propst have recently started C&C Masonry. Following graduation, he will focus on growing his business.

During his time at Tech, Haley has been a member of SkillsUSA, a CareerTech Student Organization (CTSO) that builds leadership skills and allows students to showcase their learned skills through state and national competitions. In 2020, Haley served as SkillsUSA Reporter. He currently serves as chapter President. In 2021 and 2022, he was a member of the state champion Teamworks team through SkillsUSA. Haley will advance to the national SkillsUSA contest in June. He is also a member of the Meridian Technology Center Leadership Class, a program that provides mentorship and leadership opportunities for the school’s student organization officers. Haley was recently named the 2022 Outstanding Student in the Masonry program. This award recognizes a student with exemplary attendance, grades and involvement in a CTSO.

Facilities Management and Masonry Instructor Bret Pickens said selecting Haley for this award was easy. “Cantrell excels in every area – leadership, promoting the school, quality of work, attitude, work ethic, attendance and helping other students,” he explained.

Kinnunen Sales and Rental is a one-stop-shop for construction supplies, equipment rentals, parts and service. Ray Kinnunen opened the first location out of his garage in 1991. Four years later, he relocated the company to Stillwater. Greg and Wendy Hughes purchased the business in 2013. The company now includes Kinnunen Sales and Rental and the Kinnunen Service Center in Stillwater as well as Kinnunen Sales in Enid.

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