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Mike Bradley
Field Supervisor/Apprenticeship Teacher
Iowa Insulation
Nevada, Iowa

Competing on a team full of dedicated professionals and winning a gold medal at the National Craft Championships was one of the highlights of my career. With that gold medal came a lot of added recognition and respect, not only from the employees in my own company, but from other trades on the jobs I work. Because of this, I felt an even greater urge to hold myself to the highest standard when it comes to quality of work, collaboration, communication, leadership and customer satisfaction.

I have used the lessons gained during that competition to increase my productivity. Being the apprenticeship teacher at our company, I have actively tried to instill those standards in every one of my apprentices.

I was already very passionate about what I do, but being around hundreds of other people who feel exactly the same makes for a very powerful experience. It makes me believe that there is a bright future ahead for anyone who wants to pursue a career in construction.

Brandon Moore
Tool Room Attendant
Baytown, Texas

ABC’s National Craft Championships gave me the confidence needed to excel in my career. Before competing, you are just another young craftsman honing his trade. After getting invited to compete, you realize that you have the potential to become one of the greats in your craft—not to mention how it feels to bring home a gold medal. It is a good way of knowing that you chose the right career and you have a bright future ahead of you.

Competing in a different environment under a strict time restraint helps you learn to adjust to unfamiliar work conditions and perform well under stress. When you compete, you are offered limited time and resources to complete your task. This helps you learn to prioritize job tasks and make the best of the supplies on hand.

You also learn a lot from meeting competitors from all over the country. You learn what your craft is doing in other states, what opportunities await you all across the map, and you learn to trust your judgment.

Jordan Bretey
Journeyman Fire Sprinkler Fitter
Rapid Fire Protection
Salt Lake City

I think that the process of preparing for the National Craft Championships caused me to push for a higher level of excellence than I might have otherwise. It gave me an incentive to study harder and strive for my highest level of quality. That has continued in my day-to-day work, reminding me not to settle for good, but to strive for the best. 

I also think that being a part of the National Craft Championships has enhanced my relationships with the general contractors that know what I did. They are happy to know that they have a professional on their job who cares about his craft and the industry, and not someone who is just showing up for a paycheck.

The entire event was affirming and inspiring—from the keynote talk by John Ratzenberger, to the hundreds of people cheering on the competitors, to the sound of 187 craft professionals yelling “I am a champion.” It was an event that I will never forget, and it motivates me to keep striving to be the best professional craftsman that I can be. 

Get more details on the 2016 National Craft Championships at nationalcraftchampionships.org. Intent-to-compete forms are due Dec. 1, and the competitor registration deadline is Jan. 8.

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