January 2013

Shop Apprentice Competition

Iron Workers Shopmen Local 790 (San Francisco) and the Northern California Shop Ironworkers Apprenticeship and Training Trust hosted the Bi-Annual Shop Outstanding Ironworker Apprenticeship Competition, held June 22-23, 2012 in Benicia, California at the University of Iron Training Center. Honored to welcome this tremendous event to California once again, Local 790 pulled out all the stops to make this year's competition one to remember. The weekend's festivities started Friday evening with a cocktail mixer for everyone to get acquainted before the competition. Ten apprentices, hailing from California, Oregon, British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, were welcomed by Erik Schmidli, apprenticeship coordinator of Local 790. There they mingled with each other and with honored guests of the event including General Secretary Eric Dean, California and Vicinity District Council President and Fifth General Vice President Joe Standley, Shop Division General Organizers Tony Butkovich and Eric Bohne, as well as several other local and district representatives.

Saturday morning the apprentices were up bright and early and eager to compete. They gathered at the University of Iron Training Center in Benicia for breakfast prior to testing their skills and knowledge of the trade. The competition was comprised of two parts, a written exam and a practical exam. The written portion featured a blueprint reading test, math test, and a general knowledge test. The practical portion was a hands-on exercise testing the apprentices' skills in layout, cutting and welding, and the fit-up of a wide-flange beam. Mid-day the apprentices and spectators were treated to a barbeque lunch catered by local favorite Kinder's BBQ. As the competition came to its conclusion at the end of the day, the apprentices anxiously speculated who would win top honors.

The competition came to a close on Saturday evening with a banquet and awards ceremony to honor the competitors and victors alike. All of the apprentices were acknowledged for their outstanding achievements by the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers with the presentation of a watch. Prizes were awarded to the top three outstanding apprentices who achieved the highest accumulated score from the competition earlier that day. The host local, Ironworkers Shopmen Local 790, was proud to honor two of its own as winners in the competition. The first place winner, Absalon Banuelos, Local 790, received the top prize of $700 and a Lincoln 140 welder. The second place winner was Joaquin Moncada, Local 790, receiving a prize of $500. Coming in third place was Dustin Jean, Local 805 (Calgary, Alberta), receiving a prize of $300. In addition, Ted Toland, owner of C.E. Toland and Son, presented each winner with a beautiful trophy created by his company representing the Golden Gate Bridge. The trophies were created from different materials to showcase each place-winning color; polished brass to represent first place gold, stainless steel to represent second place silver, and specialty color-treated mild steel to represent third place bronze.

Ironworkers Shopmen Local 790 was thrilled to have hosted the event and would like to recognize everyone who made the event possible. The competing apprentices did a truly outstanding job in representing their trade and were the reason the event was such a success. Without their hard work and dedication it would not have been possible. Local 790 would also like to thank Dick Zampa Jr., Brian Colombo, and Joe Medina at the University of Iron Training Center for providing such an amazing facility in which to compete, as well as our members, signatory companies, and sponsors for contributing to the success of the event.

We are all looking forward to the next Shop Ironworker Apprentice Competition in 2014, where we are sure to see the best-of-the-best battle for top prize and hopefully a few more shop locals competing.