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Associated Builders and Contractors’ (ABC) National Craft Championships celebrates the training efforts of chapters and member companies by testing trainees’ expertise via a written exam and hands-on competitions for 11 different crafts. This year’s event, held April 30-May 2 in Birmingham, Ala., as part of the 2014 ABC Workforce Development Conference, featured 156 competitors.


Gold & Safety: Brett Wesson, ABC Keystone Chapter, Wohlsen Construction Company
Silver: Tyler Stauts, ABC Northern California Chapter
Bronze: Chris Neubert, ABC Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter, Klover Contracting, Inc.

“The hard work and dedication our employees put forth over their four years of education is monumental, so why not honor them, their craft and their competitive side by sending them to the National Craft Championships? The benefit of seeing our employees’ excitement over Chris’ bronze medal and the desire to be the next winner is priceless.” – Kristy Pollock, Director of Human Resources, Klover Contracting, Inc.

Electrical: Residential/Commercial
Gold: Shaun Birch, ABC of the Carolinas, Watson Electrical Construction Co. LLC
Silver & Safety: Dillon Clemsen, ABC of Iowa Apprenticeship and Training Trust, Remsburg Service, Inc.
Bronze: Jose Vaca, ABC Los Angeles/Ventura Chapter, Bergelectric Corp.

“Over the years, many of our apprentices have medaled in their respective trades, which helps strengthen our apprenticeship program. The competition is an outstanding opportunity for apprentices to showcase their knowledge, skills and talents while promoting the importance of merit shop contractors.” – Ginny Shindelar, Education Director, ABC of Iowa Apprenticeship and Training Trust

Electrical: Industrial/Commercial
Gold: Spencer Hoffman, Gaylor Electric
Silver & Safety: Franklin Noble, ABC San Diego Chapter, Bergelectric Corp.
Bronze: Robson Marcondes, ABC Virginia Chapter, M.C. Dean Inc.

“ABC was a good stepping-stone to getting into the workforce. When I finish school and get my license, it will open up my schedule so I can study for my electrical engineering degree.” – Franklin Noble, Bergelectric Corp.

Fire Sprinkler
Gold: Paul Gibson, ABC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, Piper Fire Protection
Silver & Safety: Rocky Thompson, American Fire Sprinkler Association, Rapid Fire Protection Inc.
Bronze: Shane Holt, Florida Automatic Sprinkler Training, Inc. (F.A.S.T.), Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Inc.

“Training for the National Craft Championships has helped me slow down and better evaluate the job and the fire system. Being in the competition itself was a confidence boost; it was a good way to show my bosses that I am good at what I do and have the motivation toward bigger and better things.” – Paul Gibson, Piper Fire Protection

Gold: Justin Witkowski, ABC Baltimore Metro Chapter, Green Contracting Company, Inc.
Silver & Safety: Nicholas Thacker, ABC Indiana/Kentucky Chapter, Freije-RSC Engineered Solutions
Bronze: David Allhands, ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship and Training Trust, North American Mechanical, Inc.

“The competition benefits our members by pulling—not pushing—the students to be their best and by laying out clear standards for what is best. It helps the chapter by providing a method for monitoring the students’ grasp on the skills and processes, and it helps the industry by preparing our students to perform their work in a safe and professional manner.” – Michael Wall, Education & Training Committee Chairman, ABC Baltimore Metro Chapter

Instrumentation Fitting
Gold & Safety: Bryon Hebert Jr., ABC Pelican Chapter, ISC, Inc.
Silver: Logan Willmert, Interstates Companies
Bronze: Jonathan Siggio, ABC New Orleans/Bayou Chapter, Triad Electric & Controls

“Instrument techs fit into a fuzzy category between electricians and mechanical trades; it offers the opportunity to be the person that can take on problems and offer solutions that neither group immediately wants to.” – Logan Willmert, Interstates Companies

Gold: Trevor Reis, ABC Greater Michigan Chapter, G.E. Insulation
Silver: Mitch Schwoeppe, hth companies inc.
Bronze: Eric Valentine, Starcon International, Inc.
Safety: Ron Strednicky, Jr., Starcon International, Inc.

“We plan on sending an apprentice to this competition each year and all the apprentices seem very excited to have a chance to show their skills. Anything that creates additional excitement to go to work or to class to better yourself and the company is a win-win for all parties involved. A company is only as good as its employees.” – Eric McCleave, Superintendent, hth companies inc.

Millwright/Industrial Maintenance
Gold: Michael Astle, Cianbro
Silver: Ashley Agbe, ABC Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, RPM Services, Inc.
Bronze & Safety: Jeremy Michelli, ABC Pelican Chapter, Jacobs Field Service

“Sending competitors to the National Craft Championships allows us to validate the strengths and weaknesses of our craft development programs and gives us the opportunity to recognize team members and trainers who excel.” – Brian Watson, Manager, Cianbro Institute

Gold: Ross Capps, Zachry Industrial, Inc. 
Silver: Joshua Allgier, ABC Heart of America Chapter, Lee Mechanical Contractors, Inc.
Bronze: Matthew Allgier, ABC Heart of America Chapter, Lee Mechanical Contractors, Inc.
Safety: Bryan Collett, TIC

“Some of the greatest construction superintendents start their careers as pipefitters. I believe the challenges and processes that go into pipe make you very knowledgeable and grow you into a leader.” – Bryan Collett, TIC

Gold & Safety: Gavin Gardner-Marlow, ABC of Iowa Apprenticeship and Training Trust, Kruck Plumbing and Heating Co., Inc.
Silver: Richard Ederer, ABC San Diego Chapter, Sherwood Mechanical
Bronze: Lee McKnight, ABC of Alaska, Klebs Mechanical

“As new technology develops, so do the skills you need as a plumber. Learning on-the-job skills has always been very rewarding.” – Richard Ederer, Sherwood Mechanical

Sheet Metal
Gold: Sidney Jones, ABC of Iowa Apprenticeship and Training Trust, C&K Heating and Plumbing
Silver: Kevin Sullivan, ABC San Diego Chapter, Brian Cox Mechanical, Inc.
Bronze & Safety: Corey Brown, ABC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, Express Metals         
“This event affords our students the opportunity to understand the value of ABC to our members, as well as to take pride in themselves and their chosen profession and to build camaraderie with their fellow tradesmen.” – Lisa Boyette, Education Director, ABC Florida Gulf Coast Chapter

Welding: Pipe

Gold: Aaron Poole, Cianbro
Silver: Demetris Lawson, Robins & Morton
Bronze & Safety: Brandon Kinder, Starcon International, Inc.

“Training was hard, but I enjoyed it because of the new skills I learned. I learned that hard work and patience always pay off. It also helped me be a safer and more productive employee.” – Demetris Lawson, Robins & Morton

Welding: Structural
Gold & Safety: Cecil Folse, ABC New Orleans/Bayou Chapter     
Silver: Houston Hall, Zachry Industrial, Inc.
Bronze: Nathan Sutton, ABC New Orleans/Bayou Chapter, Hahnville High School

“I enjoy welding because no two people weld exactly alike. It’s like you’re putting down your own art form. I plan on taking pipefitting, too, because the more trades you know, the better off you’ll be.” – Cecil Folse, ABC New Orleans/Bayou Chapter

Team Demonstration
Carpentry, electrical, insulation, millwright and pipefitting craft professionals hailing from Alabama-based Dunn Building, Ivey Mechanical, Patco Electrical and Bevill State Community College worked collaboratively in an industrial construction simulation requiring complete skills mastery, coordinated teamwork and solid communication.

The 2015 National Craft Championships will be held March 3-6 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in conjunction with ABC’s 2015 Workforce Development Conference. The goal is to bring even more top-notch competitors together for a chance to garner national recognition, as well as generate more event coverage to help educate the public about fulfilling career opportunities in the construction industry.
  • Register a competitor. Participation in the National Craft Championships is not limited to ABC chapter-sponsored training programs. All eligibility requirements can be found on www.nationalcraftchampionships.org. ABC chapters and members must complete an intent-to-compete form specifying the number of competitors per craft who are planning to compete by Dec. 1. The cost per competitor is $250. Competitors must arrive in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday, March 3, and may depart the afternoon of Friday, March 6.
  • Volunteer as a judge. Judges must have recognized experience and expertise in their craft. They must be onsite the day of the hands-on performance test from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Become an event sponsor. Sponsorship opportunities can be tailored to meet a company’s goals. Sponsors interested in donating a combination of cash and materials or tools for the hands-on performance tests must provide enough to ensure each competitor in a craft works with the same materials/tools. Sponsor benefits may include logo placement, advertisements and exhibit space. 
  • Spread the word. Share news about the event with colleagues, employees, project partners, local schools, social media networks and other media outlets. For more information, visit www.nationalcraftchampionships.org, like www.facebook.com/ABCNational or follow @ABCNational.

Compiled by Joanna Masterson, editor of Construction Executive, and Donna Puglisi, ABC public relations manager. For more information, email masterson@abc.org or puglisi@abc.org. Photos courtesy of 205 Photography by Jana Sobel.

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