April 25, 2011
Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR
(619) 997-2495 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ABC Apprentice Brings Home Gold from National Competition
Richard Raynor wins Sheet Metal title at 2011 ABC National Craft Championships
(San Diego) -- San Diego County had more than just the San Diego State Aztecs in nationwide competition this spring. Three construction craft champions represented Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego at the ABC National Craft Championships, held at the ABC National Education Conference & Expo last week in San Antonio, Texas. This prestigious competition brings together the top apprentices and trainees in the country who vie to be named “number one” in each of thirteen trades.
Richard Raynor, sheet metal apprentice employed and sponsored by Pacific Rim Mechanical, faced off among national finalists from local, regional and state competitions around the country after winning ABC San Diego’s local competition in December. Raynor became San Diego’s fourth Gold Medalist, winning the sheet metal competition, making him the national champion in his craft field.
Also competing in the event were electrician apprentice Jacob Henselmeier, employed and sponsored by Bergelectric; and plumbing apprentice Ryan Daley, employed and sponsored by California Comfort Systems.
Raynor spent several weeks practicing his skills before class and on Saturdays at the ABC Apprenticeship Training Trust facility in Poway. He said he went in feeling prepared but said the nerves and stress were higher than he expected. “It’s the pressure. You start second guessing yourself,” said Raynor. “It’s a good feeling, definitely an accomplishment I never expected when I started the ABC program. It’s cool.”
Sherry Yarbrough, ABC Apprenticeship Training Trust Executive Director, was in San Antonio cheering Raynor, Daley and Henselmeier on. “The San Diego ABC Apprenticeship Program has a long tradition of national winners having won 11 medals in the last 11 years. We are very proud of all of our competitors and especially Richard for bringing home the Gold for the Sheet Metal Program,” said Yarbrough.
Raynor also had the support of his employer, Pacific Rim Mechanical. Rick Amison, human resources director, surprised Raynor by showing up in San Antonio to support his efforts. “Skilled construction workers like Richard work very hard to learn their specific trade and are very proud to be proficient in what they do. Construction workers are very competitive by nature and an opportunity like the Craft Championships is only available to the very best across the country,” said Amison.
Amison said he felt from the beginning Raynor was intent on winning. “I was there throughout the competition and Richard was very focused. He seemed to tune out everyone else. He moved very slowly and concisely making every move count. When they broke for lunch all the competitors were exhausted. That was the moment I really saw how very difficult this competition was,” said Amison.
Amison says news of Raynor’s win spread fast. “Richard has become a celebrity. Everyone in the company now knows Richard and we are extremely proud of him.”
A conference highlight, the ABC National Craft Championships event started in 1987 as a way to recognize the high quality of craft training in construction careers. The competition emphasizes the important role craft skills training plays in construction, by evaluating contestants’ knowledge of their craft as well as their skill and talent. Seasoned apprentices and craft trainees from around the country compete toe-to-toe to determine the top three craftpersons in each trade.
To compete in the national event, contestants must first successfully complete hundreds of hours of classroom training and thousands of hours of practical field experience to be eligible for preliminary local competitions.
The first part of the competition features a written test of the competitor’s technical and theoretical knowledge. On day two, apprentices and craft trainees are assigned their workspaces, and given the plans, tools and materials they need to build professional projects. Judges observe and inspect the ongoing work being performed. When time is called, the judges move in for the final inspection. All of this takes place before a live audience. The results are announced in award ceremonies the following day.
“The pressure is high on our champions,” said Sherry Yarbrough, Executive Director of ABC San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust. “San Diego has an excellent record at the nationals. It’s due to the high expectations we have in our training program for apprentices and trainees day in and day out.
“The exceptional level of skill that contractors have come to expect from ABC Apprenticeship Training program graduates is also what makes them so successful in this competition year after year,” noted Yarbrough.
About ABC San Diego
Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national trade association representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work. The San Diego Chapter of ABC represents construction and construction-related firms throughout San Diego County. To find out more about ABCSD, visit www.abcsd.org.