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L-169’s Slater captures 2018 graduate apprentice title

COMPETITORS AT THE NATIONAL APPRENTICESHIP COMPETITION SHOWCASE THEIR SKILLS AT LOCAL 28 IN NEWARK, NEW JERSEY. Pictured from l. to r.: Matt Stillson, L-1; Joshua Slater, L-169; Dwayne Martin, L-40; Michael Estes, L-83; Joshua Roupe, L-154; Andrew Davis, L-29; Justin Williams, L-101; and Jason Eubanks, L-549.

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Runner-up spot goes to L-29’s Davis; Northeast Section takes team honors

JOSHUA SLATER, A member of Detroit Local 169 (Great Lakes Area), won top honors at the 2018 National Apprenticeship Competition held at Local 28 (Newark, New Jersey) August 20-23. This was the fourth straight year a graduate apprentice of L-169 took top honors, and it was the local’s sixth top finish in the last 10 years.

Andrew Davis, a member of Local 29 (Boston), was named runner up. Team honors went to the Northeast, which paired Davis with Joshua Roupe, Local 154 (Pittsburgh).

“There were no losers here,” said BNAP Program Coordinator Mark Wertz at the awards dinner held at the Hilton Philadelphia Penn’s Landing. “Fifty points separated places one through eight, which tells me the training is even across the country. But we’re going to keep developing and raising the bar.”

Slater, who kept the L-169 winning streak going, first heard about the Boilermakers through the High School Welding Invitational hosted by L-169 every spring. The program, which began 16 years ago, gives high school students early exposure to the Boilermakers and the quality apprenticeship training the union offers.

“In Local 169, we think it’s very important to train our people to a standard that will keep our brotherhood going for another 125 years,” says L-169 BM-ST Bob Hutsell. “That’s what we work to do.”

Also competing were Michael Estes, Local 83 (Kansas City, Missouri); Jason Eubanks, Local 549 (Pittsburg, California); Dwayne Martin, Local 40 (Elizabethtown, Kentucky); Matthew Stillson, Local 1 (Chicago); and Justin Williams, Local 101 (Denver).

To reach the national competition, which is sponsored by the Boilermakers National Apprenticeship Program, contestants had to finish in the winner or runner-up spot in their respective area competitions.

In addition to the hands-on competition, candidates competed on a written exam covering their four years of related studies and on-the-job-training, blueprint reading and safety. The hands-on portion included rigging, layout and fabrication, tube rolling, knot tying, hand signals, reeving, and equipment use, along with welding and cutting. Judges scored contestants on safety and on overall knowledge and demonstrated skills.

The lead judge for the competition was Michael Stanton (Local 154, Pittsburgh). Other judges for the event were Shon Almond, AD-NTDS; Craig Belfatto Jr., Shelby Mechanical; Monte Causey, IR-CSO; Jason Dupuis, NEAAC; Shaun Estes, Songer Corp.; Matthew Fink, Local 13 (Philadelphia); Chuck Harvey, Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co. Inc.; Jason Hettel, Local 27 (St. Louis); Collin Keisling, WSJAC; Travis Laine, Local 242 (Spokane, Washington); Larry McManamom Jr., GLABAP; Stephen Murphy, NEAAC; Eric Olson, SAJAC; BM-ST Chris O’Neill, Local 237 (East Hartford, Connecticut); Darrell Rosson, Graycor; and Gary Talmadge, CBI.

The candidates were recognized and awards presented at a dinner. Presenters included International Vice President - Great Lakes Larry McManamon and Wertz, who also served as master of ceremonies.