Craft Competitors Make Keystone Proud

Kristi Pronovost Apprenticeship & Workforce Development Blog, The Merit Shop Spokesman Blog

By: Cindy DeWire, Director of Apprenticeship, ABC Keystone

Dedication, hard work and skill were all displayed at the ABC National Craft Competition (NCC), which was held in Long Beach, CA on March 26 & 27. Keystone was honored to have five competitors representing the Chapter:

Brandon Dippner, CCS Building Group (Electrical)
Anthony Hartz, Brubaker, Inc. (Plumbing)
Khalil Hunter, H.B. McClure Company (HVAC)
Matt Leibhart, Warfel Construction Company (Carpentry)
Tim Thalwitzer, Walton & Company (Sheet Metal)

The competitors did a great job of representing themselves, ABC Keystone, and their employers, and the Chapter is proud of their efforts and abilities. Leading up to the competition, each of these men worked hard in training over a 12-week period with Tom Fasnacht, ABC Keystone Instructor/Shop Manager. During their training, they practiced the written tests as well as spent many hours fine-tuning their practical skills to prepare for the competition. The competitors each gained additional skills and experience that will be valuable to their future careers.

“My biggest take away from the competition was the comradery between all the competitors. It was really neat to meet and network with tradesmen from all over the country,” said Brandon. “The competition itself was intense, but as soon as you get in your groove on your project you just get in the zone and do your work.”

The NCC featured 168 craft professionals competing for top honors in 14 competitions representing 12 crafts. The competition included a two-hour written exam and a day-long 6-hour, hands-on practical performance test. “It was an honor to sponsor our five competitors in Long Beach,” said Stephanie Larkin, VP of Education, Safety & Workforce Development. “They showed a great deal of commitment leading up to the events and were true professionals during the competition. We couldn’t be prouder and wish them all the best after they graduate.”

“The annual National Craft Championships honor the best the merit shop construction industry has to offer,” said 2019 ABC National Chair Tony Rader, Telecom Vice President of National Roofing Partners, Coppell, Texas. “I am always amazed by the level of dedication NCC competitors show to their craft, safety and professional development. This talented group of craft professionals are leaders in our workforce, and I look forward to their continued contributions to the construction industry.”

Keystone will start prepping for the 2020 National Craft Competition by holding the 2019 ABC Keystone Local Craft Competition on Saturday, September 21, 2019. Invitations to compete at this local competition will be sent in May to the top five students and employers in each trade. These individuals will take a written exam and perform a hands-on practical project at the local competition, and the top scorer in each trade will be invited to compete at the NCC in March 2020, in Nashville, TN.

Advice for future competitors:
Keep an open mind and take the opportunities given to you.” – Anthony Harz

Take the practice sessions seriously. Work hard on prepping, and most of all, if you make it to Nationals, take it all in and be proud of the accomplishment. It’s an exciting event!” – Brandon Dippner

“Getting to work with these craft professionals and interact with them during their training and at the NCC is a true highlight of my job,” said Cindy DeWire. “I am proud of each of our 2019 competitors for their dedication and hard work over the past four months. I am looking forward to preparing for the September Local Competition and working with the next group of competitors for the NCC.”

Congratulations to the 2019 ABC Keystone National Craft Competition Team for a job well done!

May 1, 2019