Joel Vigneaux of Local Union 72 in Atlanta won the HVAC copper segment portion of the UA’s apprenticeship competition. Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich., was the host of the United Association’s 21st annual competition, Aug. 8-12.

The Copper Development Association sponsored and judged the copper segment of the competition, which was held over two days and tested the apprentices from the five different disciplines - HVAC, pipe fitting, plumbing, sprinkler fitting and welding.

Apprentices were tested on traditional joining techniques like soldering and brazing, flameless joining methods like roll-grooved, push-to-fit and press-to fit systems, and additional fabrication methods including tube bends and T-drilled connections. All copper tubes and fittings for the competition were donated by CDA member companies.

Apprentices had four hours to assemble a secret copper system, and once done, their work was checked for accuracy, as well as a compressed-air test to check for leaks on all joints.

“Every year, we’re impressed on the skill displayed in the apprenticeship competition,” said Andy Kireta Jr., CDA’s vice president of building construction. “(CDA) always looks forward to participating with the UA program. It’s a pleasure dealing with the apprentices and instructors who take the time to participate, and the many, many hours in preparation honing their skills.”

The week ended with the graduation ceremony and the announcement for the winners of the competition. Aside from a commemorative trophy, the winners of the copper portion of the contest also received $1,000.