The snow may have been falling in Pittsburgh March 10-11, but it didn’t stop apprentices from Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and District of Columbia from participating in the second year of the reincarnation of the Region 2 Apprentice Contest, hosted by Sheet Metal Workers Local No. 12.
After a seven-year hiatus, the contest returned last year to Local No. 19 in Philadelphia for the first year of competition.
Second-, third- and fourth-year apprentices tested their skills on written tests, shop work and sketching, with third- and fourth-year students also adding plans and specs. Fourth-year students competed in welding as well.
Winners in the second-year apprentice division include: Carlos Perrino, Local No. 25, first place; Mike Smith, Local No. 19 Central, second place; and Greg Riggs, Local No. 19 Philadelphia, third place.
In the third-year apprentice division: John Lackamyre, Local No. 44, first place; James Alan, Local No. 19 Central, second place; and Justin Butine, Local No. 12, third place.
In the fourth-year apprentice division: David Holzer, Local No. 12, first place; Edward Tobell, Local No. 19 Philadelphia, second place; and Joel Ortiz, Local No. 25, third place.
Although the apprentices were given study guides to help them prepare for the contest, no one knew what projects or questions were chosen by the contest committee until they arrived.
“This way, everyone has a fair opportunity to be prepared,” said Fred Olita, training coordinator for Local No. 27 in Farmingdale, New Jersey. “They compete on craftsmanship and knowledge.”
Apprentices studied on their own time and in addition to their normal class or workload, at times from 40 to 50 hours, said Len Liebert, assistant coordinator for Local No. 12.
It’s critical to set high expectations, so the “students rise to that level of expectation,” Liebert said. It allows for “healthy competition.”