Aspiring sheet metal workers took their tools to Indianapolis March 20-23 for the 35th annual International Apprentice Contest. Sixty contestants from across the country came to the Indiana training facility operated by the International Training Institute, an affiliate of the Sheet Metal Workers union and the Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors’ National Association.

The contestants, each of whom had won local events, were tested on HVAC work; industrial/welding; testing, adjusting and balancing; architectural sheet metal; and service work.

Written exams and hands-on tests were used to pick the winners, who officials said represent the best of the program’s 13,500 apprentices. Prizes included up to $3,000 and Sears gift certificates.

All 60 participants were given a galvanized metal eagle made by Bruce Corbin with materials supplied by D&V Precision Sheet Metal and Snodgrass Sheet Metal.

Fatos Binaku works on his architectural project. Image courtesy of the International Training Institute.

HVAC winners

In the HVAC category, the winners were:

First place - Thomas N. Fuller II. He works for V.E. Shekell Inc. in Evansville, Ind.

Second place - Jeffrey D. Mercer of SMK Tri-Cities Inc. in Pasco, Wash.

Third place - Nathan E. Harris, an employee of New England Sheet Metal in Fresno, Calif.

Michael Patron does some welding for his architectural entry. Image courtesy of the International Training Institute.

Industrial/Welding winners

In industrial/welding, winners were:

First place - Brain E. Dahlman of Dahlman Sheet Metal in Frankfort, Ill.

Second place - Kirk Heilner. He is employed by Sheet Metal Fabricators Inc. in Huntindon Valley, Pa.

Third place - Nathan A. Stamper, a worker for Cox Air Systems in Belton, Mo.

In the testing, adjusting and balancing category, Jeremy Hagel uses a balometer to measure airflow. Image courtesy of the International Training Institute.

TAB winners

The TAB category winners were:

First place - Jason M. Balcom, employed by Absolut Balancing Inc. in Brighton, Mich.

Second place - Mark T. Waltenbaugh Jr. from Gowan Inc. in Houston.

Third place - Joshua D. Howard, an employee of Gibson Service in Terre Haute, Ind.

Architectural winners

Architectural winners were:

First place - David R. Wille. Wille works for Metalmaster in McHenry, Ill.

Second place - Nickolas R. Tamburo of John A. Dalsin & Son in Minneapolis.

Third place - Derek J. Blessing from S&D Architectural Metals in North Royalton, Ohio.

Service competition contestant Roger Erickson takes a measurement. Image courtesy of the International Training Institute.

Service winners

For service, the winners were:

First place - Justin A. Gotsch from Wiesbrook Sheet Metal of Plainfield, Ill.

Second place - Jeffrey B. Bradley, a worker at Coleman Heating & Sheet Metal in Bridgeton, Mo.

Third place - Kevin T. Flippo of Airco Mechanical Inc. in Sacramento, Calif.

The next apprentice contest will take place next year in Las Vegas as part of the Sheet Metal Workers union and SMACNA’s Partners in Progress conference.