Earlier this year, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles asked 10th through 12th graders to design a Ram truck of the future for this year's Drive for Design contest. The last day for submissions was May 1, and today, the automaker has announced the winners. Three high school students from Michigan and California took top honors in the competition.

First place went to 12th grader Job Skandera of Santa Clara, California. Second-place winner Vincent Piaskowski, an 11th grader from Birmingham, Michigan, is now a second-time winner, placing third in last year's competition. Alex David Kirschmann, another 11th grader this time from Auburn Hills, Michigan, took third. All three are unique and are packed with neat features like a water purification system, retractable bed cover, and 360-degree lighting built right into the bed.

First place wins a Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 while second place and third place receives an Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. They'll also get more hands-on experience, including virtual design sketching demonstrations with FCA design team members.

Mark Trostle, Head of Ram Truck and Mopar Exterior Design, said, "All of the entries were impressive," adding that the students displayed focus and paid attention to detail. Those are "characteristics we look for when we go to hire designers to work for FCA," he added. Trostle introduced the competition in 2013, based on a contest he had won as a high school student.

Gallery: FCA's Drive For Design Competition Winners

FCA introduced the contest with a sketch that appeared to tease a bit of the Ram Rebel TRX, the brand's anticipated off-road answer to the Ford Raptor. The poster featured a bright-yellow truck with an aggressive front clip – a gaping grille, an angular hood, and prominent tow hooks. It's expected to arrive for the 2021 model year, using the 2016 concept truck as inspiration. It's one of the most anticipated new trucks we're expecting. Maybe one of these three winners will one day design its successor.

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High School Students From Michigan and California Take Top Spots in FCA Drive for Design Competition

May 8, 2020, Auburn Hills, Mich. – Three students from Michigan and California have taken the top spots in this year’s FCA Drive for Design contest. Entries submitted from high school students in grades 10-12 from across the country were reviewed virtually by FCA’s automotive design team and special guest judge Josh Welton. This year’s 10-week competition asked students to sketch a Ram truck of the future.

“All of the entries were impressive, the work was very focused with a notable attention to detail, as well as their thought process – these are characteristics we look for when we go to hire designers to work for FCA,” said Mark Trostle, Head of Ram Truck and Mopar Exterior Design for FCA – North America. “Automotive design is a growing field and often overlooked by parents and students, our goal is to inspire and change that perspective. There are many career paths available within automotive design where young designers will have the opportunity to create some of the most exciting and technologically advanced products on the road today, as well as create what’s possible for the future.”

Trostle knows firsthand what it’s like to be given an opportunity to excel in this field. In 2013, he introduced Drive for Design, which is based on a contest he won as a high school student. He credits that experience as something that led him to his current professional role, heading the design efforts for some of the most desired vehicles on the road. Today, he’s passing the torch to three promising automotive designers. The three student winners of the 2020 Drive for Design competition are:

  • First place – Job Skandera, 12th grade, Santa Clara, California
  • Second place – Vincent Piaskowski, 11th grade, Birmingham, Michigan
  • Third place – Alex David Kirschmann, 11th grade, Auburn Hills, Michigan

Second-place winner Vincent Piaskowski is also a second-time winner, placing third in last year’s competition.

“I’m a truck guy, so I was especially stoked to see what this year’s competitors would bring to the table. They did not disappoint! The three winners each showed off sky high potential in technical skill and imagination without sacrificing what makes a Ram a Ram: functionality, said Josh Welton, Guest Judge. “If it’s going to be ‘Built to Serve’ it needs to first be ‘designed to serve.’ I’ll be first in line to rock any of their drawings should they come to life!”

Due to recent circumstances, awards for the annual contest were changed to include a more hands-on experience that will include virtual networking and design sketching demonstrations with members of the FCA design team along with electronic creative tools of the trade:

  • First place - Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16
  • Second and third places - Apple iPad Pro and Apple Pencil

Virtual networking and design sketching demonstrations with FCA designers will be planned for all winners “While we were not able to carry out our award ceremonies this year, we do want to give special thanks to our partners EyesOn Design and College for Creative Studies,” said Trostle.