L-7’s Bogue wins national apprentice competition

Michael Bogue, l., receives congratulation on his first-place finish from BNAP National Coordinator Pat Smith.

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L-502’s Nordstrom places second; Northeast contestants take team honors

GRADUATE APPRENTICE Michael Bogue, Local 7 (Buffalo, N.Y.), won first place at the 23rd annual Boilermakers’ National Outstanding Apprenticeship Competition, held Sept. 26-30 at Local 7’s training center in Orchard Park. Western States apprentice C. Eric Nordstrom, Local 502 (Puyallup, Wash.), took second. Team honors went to Bogue and Jeffrey Nasta, Local 5 Zone 5 (New York), representing the Northeast Area.

The event was the first to be held outside the national training center in Kansas City, Kan. The NTC facility was closed earlier this year as part of a restructuring program. Under the new format, local training facilities in the United States will host the event on a two-year rotation. Local 7 will sponsor the event again in 2011.

Results of the four-day national competition were announced at an awards banquet held Sept. 30 at Salvatore’s Restaurant in Depew, N.Y.

Other graduate apprentices competing this year were, from the Western States Area, Dylan Phillips, Local 101 (Denver); from the Great Lakes Area, Kevin Sancho, Local 169 (Detroit), and Orry Frost Jr., Local 647 (Minneapolis); and, from the Southeast Area, Billy Jordan, Local 40 (Elizabethtown, Ky.), and Jonathan Russell, Local 199 (Jacksonville, Fla.).

All eight contestants earned their way to the national event by winning the top spot in their local lodge competition and finishing in one of the top two positions in their area competition.

Apprentices compete in four areas

BNAP LEAD INSTRUCTOR John Standish said the 2010 competition covered four areas: classroom, rigging, Boilermaker skills, and welding. Contestants could earn a maximum of 300 points in each area.

The classroom work included a 10-hour written exam on Boilermaker history and organization, OSHA safety rules, and on-the-job training issues.

In the team rigging test, contestants set up and performed a waterwall panel lift using a tugger and hydraulic crane. The exercise involved calculating the mechanical advantage to be employed and reeving blocks accordingly. Contestants were required to move the panel horizontally into position near the steel structure, rig it for a vertical lift over the top of the structure, and set it into position with hanger rods at the appropriate elevation and orientation.

Candidates were also judged on safety and hand-signaling.

Apprentices competed in five areas in the Boilermaker skills section. These included tube rolling, layout and fabrication, boiler component identification, tool identification and use, and CPR. The layout and fabrication exercise was especially challenging. Contestants were given two hours to craft a transitional hopper. Using a single sheet of steel plate, the teams were required to lay out the project, cut out the hopper pieces, and fit them together using the GMAW process. The top of the hopper included a square flange, the bottom a round flange. Layout was critical, as waste steel had to be kept to a minimum. The teams also had to precisely locate and prepare the bolt holes on each flange.

In the welding section, judges evaluated the contestants’ skills in tube welding, plate welding, burning, stud welding, arc gouging, and safety.

The apprentices were given five hours to remove and replace a failed tube from a water wall section using the buddy welding system. They measured and cut out the bad tube and replaced it with a 12-inch pup using GTAW and SMAW techniques. Judges assessed measuring skills, quality of cuts, beveling, and membrane welding. Welds were tested by X-ray for conformance to ASME (American Society of Mechanical Engineers) standards, with points deducted for any weld failures.

Judges for the 2010 competition were, from the Southeast Area, Stephen Speed, SAIP, and Randall James of M&D Power Constructors; from the Western States, Dean Hurt, Local 627 (Phoenix) instructor and Ted Unsworth, AP&F Construction; from the Great Lakes Area, Robert Schwartz, asst. bus. mgr. for Local 1 (Chicago), and Larry McCaffery, Industrial Construction; from the Northeast Area, Michael Stanton, Local 154 (Pittsburgh) chief welding instructor, and Dennis Mellon, Megrant Corp.; and from the National Transient Division, George Deem, Fisher Tank Company, and Larry Chunn, Delta Nooter.

William Elrod, retired AIP, served as the test administrator.

Banquet honors contestants, supporters

THE RESULTS OF the 2010 competition were announced during the awards banquet held on the final day of the event. The banquet honored all of the contestants and acknowledged those who promote the Boilermaker apprenticeship program throughout the year.

IVP Sean Murphy, BNAP chairman, opened the program by praising the contestants for their hard work and dedication. “You exemplify the finest traditions of our craft,” he said. Murphy also presented Local 7 BM-ST Joe Brown with an award acknowledging the lodge’s effort in hosting the competition.

BNAP Coordinator Pat Smith recognized all those who participated in the event and who support the apprenticeship program throughout the year, including judges and test administrators, BNAP board members, national training staff, and Local 7 training staff. He called this year’s contestants “the cream of the crop,” adding, “You are the pride of the organization right now. I know [International] President Jones is proud of you, the Boilermakers National Apprenticeship Committee is proud of you, and I am personally proud of you.”

Standish said he was pleased with how well the competition went. “This was the first one away from the national training center in Kansas City, and it went smoothly. I can’t say enough about the effort Joe Brown and Local 7 put into the event. The local’s apprentice coordinator, Mark Felschow, did a heck of a job getting everything ready, and there were plenty of volunteers from the lodge. I think the new format is going to work out just fine for us.”

SAIP Marty Spencer said Operating Engineers Local 17 of Lakeview, N.Y., deserved special thanks for supplying the crane and operators for the rigging exercise at no cost to BNAP or Local 7. “Their involvement added a new dimension to the signaling portion of the exercise.”

“It’s been a tough road to get here”

PARTICIPANTS IN apprenticeship competitions typically spend many hours preparing for the events, hitting the books and reviewing practical skills and knowledge gained on the job. For Michael Bogue, preparation included giving up two jobs to prepare for the regional contest and then the national event.

“It’s been a tough road to get here,” he said, “but a lot of people, including my wife and daughter, have helped make this happen.” He praised his family for supporting him during nights studying at home and frequent trips to the union hall to practice.

A native of the Buffalo area, Bogue, now 40, began his career as a union carpenter. He became interested in becoming a Boilermaker while helping to renovate Local 7’s union hall. After his father-in-law, Patrick Lyons, retired as the lodge’s BM-ST, Bogue entered the apprenticeship program at the lodge.

Becoming a Boilermaker was a great move, he said. “These are a great bunch of guys.” He praised his fellow contestants as “a tough bunch” of competitors.