Ten Canadian graduate apprentices have been named as best in their 2020 class. Those honored are: Gabriel Barbeau, L-271; Blake Jessup, L-128; Adrien Keller, L-359; Brittany Marier-Baumann, L-191; Andrew Ouellette, L-146; Aaron Peck, L-555; Mark Poelmann, L-128; Gerritt Taylor, L-73; Quinn Vandermeer, L-146; and Marcel Vautour, L-73.
Top apprentices are normally honored during a special Boilermaker Apprenticeship Awards Banquet at the Boilermaker Industry Tripartite Conference; however, the 2020 conference was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Following are profiles of each honoree as submitted from their nominations:
Gabriel Barbeau – Local 271
Barbeau is a young man much appreciated by his colleagues for his positive attitude, his contagious good humor and his mutual support towards them. During his first week on the job as a Boilermaker, Barbeau rescued a worker exposed to a steam leak. The worker suffered third-degree burns to the legs, and without Barbeau’s courage and help, the injuries would have been much worse. Barbeau is an excellent Boilermaker, especially in rigging, fitting and also welding work where he particularly excels. He is a third-generation Boilermaker and very proud to be part of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.
Blake Jessup – Local 128
Jessup was attracted to the Boilermakers because of the opportunity to learn a wide variety of welding processes and techniques. His favorite memory as an apprentice was getting to weld stainless for the first time on a job. His advice to apprentices: “Listen to the more experienced members; it’s the best way to learn.”
Adrien Keller – Local 359
Keller learned about the Boilermakers while he was taking a welding course at a local college. After doing some research, he decided to pursue the trade and enrolled in a Boilermaker pre-apprentice program. He describes the brotherhood as a “whole other wildly diverse family” that he’d never known, and he realized everyone has each other’s back. His advice to apprentices is to always think ahead, be a sponge and absorb everything you can: “There is an enormous amount of knowledge around, so don’t hesitate to ask. Invest in yourself.”
Brittany Marier-Baumann – Local 191
Marier-Baumann’s dad has been a marine mechanic for 40 years, so she grew up helping him in the shop and learning about boats. She went to university after high school; and after four years of schooling, she decided to switch direction entirely and try welding. Marier-Baumann has now found herself back in the marine industry, where it all began.
There are two major memories she cherishes from her apprenticeship: a sense of accomplishment and the great people she met along the way. Passing the very difficult weld test that allowed her to work on the pressure hull of the Canadian submarines gave her the confidence and acknowledgment that she made the right career choice. Marier-Baumann also met co-workers who have become friends she will have for the rest of her life. Her advice to apprentices: “Learn to take a joke, accept criticism without being defensive and never walk away from work you are not proud of.”
Andrew Ouellette – Local 146
Ouellette was referred to the Boilermakers while working at a vessel shop. One of his best memories was re-connecting with the Boilermakers he had spent time with during the Fort McMurray wildfires. The crisis created some genuine bonds between Boilermakers. His advice to apprentices: “Learn everything you can, work hard, and never give up on your goals.”
Aaron Peck – Local 555
Peck was introduced to the Boilermakers by a member and liked the idea of the security in being part of the Boilermakers union. He had previously worked construction without benefits, and he recognized the value of our benefits and pension. Peck’s first job was a lot of fun, and he says he enjoyed meeting the guys and experiencing the job for the first time. His advice to apprentices is to do what you are told and listen to the journeymen: “It will make your life easier, and you will learn a lot more.”
Mark Poelmann – Local 128
Poelmann was looking for a career that would challenge him and offer him a good pension as well as health benefits. His best memory as an apprentice is his first tig welding job. He believes if you care about your career and your union, there will be many opportunities to build a rewarding future.
Gerritt Taylor – Local 73
After completing a pressure welding course, Taylor worked his first job with the Boilermakers in 2015 as a permit welder in Point Aconi at Nova Scotia Power. Once employed by a Boilermaker contractor, he was seen as a future asset to Local 73 and was enrolled in the Boilermaker apprenticeship soon after. Taylor has accomplished many things, including obtaining his Red Seal in both Boilermaker and Welding. He is never scared to ask questions and expand his knowledge.
Quinn Vandermeer – Local 146
Vandermeer has relatives with the Boilermakers union, and he wanted to give it a try because of all the good things he heard about the Boilermakers. His favorite memories as an apprentice is meeting and hanging out with the guys. He believes to be a successful apprentice you need to be ready to go to work and be willing to listen and learn: “People will teach you the trade if you show an interest.”
Marcel Vautour – Local 73
Vautour joined Local 73 in January 2016 and hasn't looked back. He is reliable, professional and takes pride in his trade knowledge and attention to safety. During his apprenticeship Vautour became a qualified pressure welder by taking welder training. There is no task too large or small for Vautour; he is always ready to do what is asked of him.