Apprentices entered in the competition has already won contests at their local Joint Apprenticeship and Training Center as well as at one of 12 regional events held the third weekend in March. They were tested on their skills at shop fabrication, drafting, reading plans and specifications, and had to complete a two-hour written exam. Fourth-year students were also judged on their welding ability. The prizes ranged from $700 for second-year students to $2,500 for fourth-year apprentices. First-place winners also received a $5,000 mutual fund, provided by financial services company Invesco.
At the May 3 awards banquet, all participants received a copper cowboy boot, handmade by Local 2 apprentices and instructors.
In the second-year apprentice category, the winners were:First place: Jerry L. Bolz of Fairbanks, Alaska. A member of Local 23 of the Sheet Metal Workers' International Association, Bolz is employed by Holaday Parks Inc.
Second place: Jason E. Ferguson of Edwardsville, Kan. A member of SMWIA Local 2, Ferguson is employed by J&L Sheet Metal.
Third place: Gene C. Staton of Genoa City, Wis. A member of Local 265 of the SMWIA, Staton is employed by Metal Master.
In the third-year apprentice category, the winners were:First place: Daniel L. O'Brien of St. Louis. O'Brien works for Kuenz Heating and Sheet Metal and is a member of Local 36.
Second place: Charles E. Hall of Laurel, Md. He is a member of Local 100 and works for Metro Mechanical Contractors.
Third place: David E. Krueger of Poynette, Wis. Krueger works for Kilgust Mechanical Inc., and is a member of SMWIA Local 18.
In the fourth-year apprentice category, the winners were:First place: Gabriel J. Gutenberger of Merrill, Wis. Gutenberger is a member of Local 18 and an employee of Malbrit Heating.
Second place: Kyle W. Thomas of Orting, Wash. He works at Delta Technology and is a member of Local 66.
Third place: Paul A. Carrasco of Kingsburg, Calif. Carrasco is a member of Local 162 and works at New England Sheet Metal.
As part of the welding portion of the competition, Gutenberger, Thomas and Carrasco received equipment donated by Miller Electric Manufacturing Co.
A computer-aided drafting competition was also held. The winner, third-year student Paul J. Zutten, received a $500 prize from the ITI.