Sheet metal detailers vie for new motorcycle during international competition

LAS VEGAS – The International Training Institute (ITI) recently announced 12 of the nation’s top detailers have tested and qualified as finalists to participate in the detailing category at the Annual International Sheet Metal Competition March 5-9 in Las Vegas at Caesars Palace and the Sheet Metal Workers Local #88 in northeast Las Vegas.

The competition is held in conjunction with the 2012 Partners in Progress Conference, which is hosted by a partnership between the Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).

The detailing category, which allows certified apprentices and journeymen to compete for a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle, is only in its second year with the annual competition. Prior to 2011, only apprentices were permitted to compete. The detailer category brought journeymen to the competition, and it is the only category in which they are allowed to take part.

Sean Edwards, of Rock City, Ill., is the only apprentice who qualified to be a finalist in the category. Although his sheet metal education has focused on computer-assisted drawing, he says he’s honored to be in the company of such experienced journeymen.

“I definitely feel like I’m in the spotlight even more knowing that I’m the only apprentice,” he added. “I look forward to seeing what the rest of the competitors bring to the table as well as the experience I will gain from the event.”

The winner of the detailing category will drive away from Las Vegas on a Harley-Davidson Fat Boy Lo provided by Henderson Harley-Davidson.

The top 12 finalists represent different parts of the United States, including Hawaii. The finalists are Dan Beyersdorf, Saginaw, Mich.; James Brierley, Spanish Fork, Utah; David Dias, San Ramon, Calif.; Sean Edwards, Rock City, Ill.; Jaymes Fleming, Woodinville, Wash.; Clyde Fujimoto, Honolulu; Douglas Haase, Washougal, Wash.; Anthony Belluardo, Aurora, Ohio.; Joey Hovarter, Moore, Okla.; Ryan Israel, Olathe, Mo.; Amelia Kelsay, Portland, Ore.; and Josh Menz, Rochester, N.Y.

Unlike Edwards, Fujimoto is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. He sees the competition as another chance to shine. He also competed in 2011, the first year the detailing category was admitted to the contest.

“I enjoy competing now just as much as in my apprenticeship days,” Fujimoto said. “I have learned that competition helps in many ways in your career and provides opportunities for advancement. It’s a great honor, yet humbling.”

Kelsay, the only female to test for the detailing category and a finalist, is looking forward to the learning opportunity. Although she has yet to find full-time work, she is a part-time instructor at the training center in Portland.

“The Benchmark certification has provided me the education and knowledge to take the next step in my career goal of becoming a union detailer,” she said. “I am going into this competition without any expectations. Any success or jobs that may come from this would be icing on the cake.”

In addition to the detailing category open to apprentices and journeymen, apprentices will compete in five sheet metal disciplines including HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning), industrial/welding, service, architectural and TAB (Test Adjust Balance in heating and air conditioning).

Hosted by the ITI, apprentices will compete Tuesday and Wednesday, March 6 and 7, with the detailers contest on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, March 6, 7 and 8. Apprentice Partnership Sessions, hosted by Partners in Progress, are scheduled for Thursday, March 8 with regional and industrial breakout sessions on Friday, March 9. The reception and awards banquet will take place the evening of Friday, March 9.

The Partners in Progress Conference, held every other year, will feature a new program format and emphasize creative collaboration for labor and management through breakout sessions and educational opportunities. This year’s theme is “We Mean Business.”

More than 15,000 apprentices are registered at training facilities in the United States and Canada. The ITI is jointly sponsored by Sheet Metal Worker’s International Association (SMWIA) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA). ITI offers apprenticeship and advanced career training for union workers in the sheet metal industry throughout theUnited StatesandCanada. Located in Alexandria,Va., ITI produces a standardized sheet metal curriculum supported by a wide variety of training materials free of charge to sheet metal apprentices and journeymen.

For more information about the contest or ITI, visit or call 703-739-7200.