2009 Regional Apprentice Competitions

Great Lakes Area contestants include, front row, l. to r.: Matt Smith, Local 363; Brady Blotske, Local 647; Noel Springhart, Local 1; and Wayne Hayes, Local 60. Back row, l. to r.: Ryan Woods, Local 27 (runner-up); Jeffrey Rose, Local 107; Timothy Esparza, Local 374; Josue Fuentes, Local 169; and Matthew Vodraska, Local 744 (winner).

Northeast & Great Lakes

Toth and Buskey win Northeast; Vodraska and Woods win Great Lakes

THE NORTHEAST AND Great Lakes areas held their 23rd annual joint graduate apprentice competitions May 4-8 at Local 5 Zone 197 (Albany, N.Y.). The top two finishers in each contest will represent their areas in the national contest in Kansas City, Kan., Sept. 27-Oct. 1.

Michael Toth of Local 237 (Hartford, Conn.) and Eric Buskey Sr. of Local 5 Zone 197 placed first and second, respectively, in the Northeast Area Apprentice Committee’s (NEAAC) John J. Harrington Apprentice of the Year competition.

Also competing were James Raab, Local 7 (Buffalo, N.Y.); Stephen Raleigh, Local 13 (Philadelphia); Patrick O’Halloran, Local 28 (Newark, N.J.); and Anthony Gesuale, Local 154 (Pittsburgh). The contestants were later honored at their area’s semi-annual meeting July 15 in Rehoboth Beach, Del.

Union judges for the NEAAC contest were Jerry Couser, L-197 retired BM; Jack Doherty, L-28 apprentice coordinator; Ernie Dorsey, retired L-193 BM-ST (Baltimore); David Dupuis, retired NEAAC coordinator; Mark Felschow, L-7 welding instructor; Nick Gushue, L-13 welding instructor; Bob Heine, IR-ISO; James Horkay, L-154 retiree; and L-154 welding instructors Ray Orsi Jr., Rocco Puglin, and Michael Stanton.

Contractor judges included John Cammuso, Babcock Power Inc., and Matthew Schmitt, Simakas Brothers Co.

“For over 20 years we have been bringing together the best apprentices our area can produce,” said NEAAC co-coordinator Jason Dupuis. “Each year we continue to be amazed by the skill level, dedication, and professionalism of our apprentices. This year was certainly no exception. We wish both Michael and Eric well as they represent us in the upcoming national competition.”

Matthew Vodraska of Local 744 (Cleveland) and Ryan Woods of Local 27 (St. Louis) placed first and second, respectively, in the Great Lakes Area Boilermaker Apprentice Program (GLABAP) competition.

Also competing were Noel Springhart, Local 1 (Chicago); Wayne Hayes, Local 60 (Peoria, Ill.); Jeffrey Rose, Local 107 (Milwaukee, Wis.); Josue Fuentes, Local 169 (Detroit); Matt Smith, Local 363 (East St. Louis, Ill.); Timothy Esparza, Local 374 (Hammond, Ind.); and Brady Blotske, Local 647 (Minneapolis).

Union judges included Bob Schwartz, L-1 business agent; Mike Card, L-169 business agent; and Mark Lester, L-27 training instructor. Contractor judges included Shane Gordon, RMF Nooter, and Don Placko, Hayes Mechanical.

According to co-coordinators Lawrence McManamon Jr. and Mark Gustafson, the 2009 GLABAP competition was their area’s largest competition yet, with nine lodges sending contestants. To honor the outstanding apprentices, the GLABAP held its 15th annual Robert McDonough, John Mooney, and John Nooter Awards Banquet on the Odyssey cruise ship, located on Chicago’s Navy pier, June 10.


Tucker and Brown win Southeast

FOR THE FIRST time, a Local 69 (Little Rock, Ark.) member has won the Paul D. Wedge Memorial Award for the Outstanding Graduate Apprentice of the Southeast Area. Thomas Tucker took the top honor at the Southeast Area Joint Apprentice Committee’s (SAJAC) event held July 27-30 at Local 199’s Michael C. Peterson Training Center in Jacksonville, Fla. Jason Brown, Local 45 (Richmond, Va.), was runner-up.

Winning the 41st annual competition entitles Tucker and Brown to compete both individually and as a team in the national contest Sept. 27-Oct. 1.

Other graduate apprentices competing were Kevin Miller, Local 26 (Savannah, Ga.); Marc Dingee, Local 40 (Elizabethown, Ky.); Woody English, Local 83 (Kansas City, Mo.); Gregory Wilburn, Local 105 (Chillicothe, Ohio); John Weldon, Local 108 (Birmingham, Ala.); James Eubanks, Local 110 (Hattiesburg, Miss.); John Baierlein, Local 193 (Baltimore); Steffon Hendrieth, Local 199; James Nunley, Local 263 (Memphis, Tenn.); Randall Copeland, Local 433 (Tampa, Fla.); Adam Sosebee, Local 454 (Chattanooga, Tenn.); Quinn Hatton, Local 455 (Sheffield, Ala.); Danny Vanscoy II, Local 667 (Charleston, W.Va.); and Matthew Josephson, Local 687 (Charleston Heights, S.C.).

Union judges included AIP Dennis King, Intl. Reps William “Dusty” Garmon and Steve Speed, and retired Intl. Reps Barry Edwards and Bill Elrod. Contractor judges included Bob Righter of AP Com Power, Chuck Harvey of B&W Const., Kelly Lykins and Scott Szeghi of Enerfab, and Randal James of M&D Const. SAJAC Coordinator Mike McCluskey served as testing coordinator and Robert Simmons, a retired business manager of Operators Local 673, operated the tugger for the candidates.

During the contest, Local 199’s Lee Kemp prepared breakfast and lunch each day for the contestants and judges. A dinner for all participants featuring fresh shrimp, blue crab, and fish was also prepared by Local 199 members.

SAJAC Director Michael Peterson said the competition provides a great opportunity to see how well the apprentice graduates apply the skills they’ve been taught to real work situations. “It’s always a pleasure watching these new journeymen work,” he said. “Boilermakers always rise to the occasion when called upon and always do their best. That’s all we’ve ever expected out of any contestant, just their best.”

Western States

Lafley and Hoogendoorn win Western States

LUKE LAFLEY OF Local 242 (Spokane, Wash.) won the James F. Precht Award as the top apprentice in the 22nd annual Western States Area Outstanding Graduate Apprentice Competition held May 10-14 at Local 549 (Pittsburg, Calif.). Local 549’s David Hoogendoorn placed second. Both will represent the Western States at the national contest in Kansas City, Kan., Sept. 27-Oct. 1.

Nine construction lodges participated in this year’s event. Other graduate apprentices competing included Michelle Kee, Local 4 (Page, Ariz.); Justin Ketzenberg, Local 502 (Tacoma, Wash.); Carlin Yazzie, Local 627 (Phoenix); Louis Arguello, Local 92 (Los Angeles); Kirk Hampton, Local 500 (Salem, Ore.); Bradley Green, Local 11 (Helena, Mont.); and David Merrill, Local 101 (Denver).

Local 4’s Michelle Kee is this year’s winner of the Greg Streblow Scholastic Award. Local Lodges 4 and 11 received the Don Lacefield Local of the Year Award.

The competition was organized by the Western States Apprenticeship staff with assistance from L-549 BM-ST Frank Secreet, L-549 apprentice coordinator Johnny Gallon and instructor Michael Genosick, and members of the Local 549 office staff.

Union judges included L-549 retirees Otis Edwards and John Riccobuono, and L-627 retiree David Barndollar. Contractor judges included Ken Null, Babcock & Wilcox; David Gleason, Contractors Cargo; and Daryl Cram, PMI.

Western States Area Coordinator Collin Keisling said the event consisted of three days of comprehensive testing, noting that “the judges contributed greatly by lending their time, knowledge, and expertise to the test scoring.”