Arthur Kling III, Local 13, enjoys the moment after being named winner of the 2014 U.S. National Apprenticeship Competition.
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Runner-up spot goes to L-263’s Riley; Great Lakes Area takes team honors
ARTHUR KLING III, a member of Philadelphia Local 13 (Northeast Area), won top honors in the 2014 U.S. National Apprenticeship Competition held at the Mississippi River District Lodge 5/Local 37 training facility in Slidell, La., September 7-11. Kling scored best overall in a field of eight select candidates. The competition included a 10-hour-limit written exam and three days of practical exercises testing Boilermaker skills.
Jimmy Riley, a member of Memphis, Tenn., Local 263 (Southeast Area), was named runner-up. Team honors went to the Great Lakes Area, which paired Philip Klingensmith III, Local 85 (Toledo, Ohio) with Willard Oyler, Local 169 (Detroit).
Also competing were, from the Northeast Area, Joseph Amisson IV, Local 28 (Eastampton, N.J.); from the Southeast Area, Michael Hammer, Local 69 (Little Rock, Ark.); and from the Western States Area, Matthew Simpson, Local 11 (Helena, Mont.), and Royce Thornton, Local 242 (Spokane, Wash.).
To reach the national competition, contestants first had to finish in the winner or runner-up spot in their respective area competitions. All events are held under the auspices of the Boilermakers National Apprenticeship Program (BNAP).
William Elrod, retired Assistant to the International President, served as test administrator. Judging the event were, from the Western States, Mike Bradley, CH Murphy/Clark Ullman Inc., and Dave Koster, apprenticeship coordinator for Local 101 (Denver); from the Great Lakes, Larry McCaffery, Industrial Construction, and Robert Schwartz, president of Local 1 (Chicago); from the Southeast, Charles Harvey, Babcock & Wilcox, and Shon Almond, IR-CSO; from the Northeast, John Cammuso, Babcock Power Inc., and Michael Stanton, chief welding instructor, Local 154 (Pittsburgh); and from the National Transient Division, Perry Newman, CBI Services Inc., and Michael West Jr., IR-CSO.
Candidates receive awards, praise at ceremony
AFTER DAYS OF intense competition, the eight graduate apprentices were treated to a dinner in their honor, held at the Hotel Monteleone in the New Orleans French Quarter.
All candidates received participation awards, monetary prizes and gifts from Lincoln Electric, including new welding helmets. International Vice President Warren Fairley told the candidates, “It’s a pleasure to be here with you. You’ve proven you’ve got what it takes to succeed.”
APComPower’s Mike Carroll announced the runner-up winner, while International Vice President Larry McManamon presented trophies to the winner and the top team.
“Each and every one of you guys standing here tonight is a winner to me… and to everybody here at this dinner,” McManamon said.
BNAP National Coordinator Marty Spencer acknowledged the work of the test administrator, judges, BNAP staff and Mississippi District Lodge 5. He told District 5 BM-ST Dave Hegeman, “I can’t say enough about what a yeoman’s job District 5 did in hosting this event.”
Kling recounts experience
FOR ARTHUR KLING, the competition offered a lesson in performing under pressure. “The biggest thing I leaned about myself is to keep my cool under stressful situations. I came into this thinking, ‘Just do what you’ve been trained to do. Don’t overthink it.’
“I didn’t expect to come out on top. This is just a great group of guys, and from what I could tell everybody was doing so good. It’s an unreal feeling [to win].”
Kling said his wife, Deidre was “fantastic” throughout his preparations, which included “a lot of hard work, a whole lot of studying, and many sleepless nights.”
He added that studying and practicing was complicated by a heavy work schedule at a project in Bradford County, Pa., where Boilermakers are installing a new heat recovery steam generator.
But the extra effort was well worth it, he said. “I had a good time. I learned a lot. And I had the help of a lot of real good people at our local.”