Steamfitters and Plumbers from across Wisconsin participated in a written and hands-on test for the United Association (UA) Apprentice Contest May 11 and 12. The competition, which dates back several decades, was recently brought back to the area in an effort to encourage apprentices to strive for consistent excellence on the job. General President Hite attended the banquet honoring the apprentices to emphasize how important this competition is to our industry.
The competition helps the apprentices in the pipe trades test their skills and see how they match up against the “best of the best,” with the goal of making it to the national competition in August.
Apprentices from the following locals participated:
- Steamfitters Local 601
- Plumbers Local 75
- Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 434
- Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 400
The tests were complex and took well over 10 hours to complete. “We wanted to make sure we threw realistic yet difficult situations at our apprentices,” said Pat Daniels, apprenticeship and training coordinator, Steamfitters Local 601. “At the end of the day, knowing what they accomplished in these two days is impressive, and we should all be proud of their efforts.”
This year was certainly one to remember, as each winner for the four competitions came from a separate Local. The winners included:
- John Kysely, Local 434 – Welding
- Jeff Madunich, Local 601 – HVACR
- Matt Heus, Local 400 – Pipefitting
- Larry Vance, Local 75 – Plumbing
Although the winners move on to the regional contest, and hopefully the national competition, it’s not just about winning. The competition also provides an opportunity for the members of the Wisconsin pipe trades to discuss work and life – and to simply spend time with their peers.
Not only were the apprentices up to the challenge, but the training coordinators and each Local also worked hard to make the contest challenging and rewarding. Thanks to everyone’s help and dedication to making this competition successful, the end result ultimately strengthens the UA trades in Wisconsin.