January 2015

30th Annual Ironworker Instructor Training Program

In July 2014, the Ironworkers National Training Fund held its 30th annual Ironworker Instructor Training Program at Washtenaw Community College and Eastern Michigan University.

More than 700 instructors, coordinators, business managers, employers, contractors, special presenters, vendors and guests from across the United States and Canada descended upon Washtenaw Community College to upgrade their skills and classroom abilities. They made new industry contacts, learned new skills and refined their existing skills to improve their teaching skills and better train our members in their local unions.

Again this year the program was full of vitality and a sense of purpose on the part of the instructors. Like last year there were nearly 100 first-time attendees. New instructors and first-time attendees always create a sense of excitement and invigorate those veteran teachers who have been coming to the program for many years. IMPACT continued their contributions to the program by offering courses for contractors and officers making this an industry-wide event. With such a broad cross section of our industry represented, great course offerings, outstanding social events and unparalleled sense of brotherhood, the annual ironworker instructor training program should be a must attend for all ironworker instructors throughout our great international organization.

General President Walter Wise, in his speech at the opening ceremony, captured the challenges facing our industry as a whole and training in particular. He told the instructors in attendance that the future of the industry is in their hands. General President Wise also emphasized the need for our locals to prepare for the upcoming needs of the industry by offering opportunities for journeymen to upgrade their skills and stressed that no one can call themselves the best of the best if they do not embrace training and continuously upgrade their skills. Becoming learners for life is the way union ironworkers can maintain their position as the best trained, most productive and safest workers in the industry. Then, General President Wise thanked Dr. Rick Sullivan for his 30 years of service to the Iron Workers and his contribution to making the Ironworker Instructor Training Program the industry model for other trades to follow.

Next, Ironworker National Training Fund Management Co-Chair and President of TSI Exterior Wall Systems Vic Cornellier talked about the symbiotic relationship between union labor and management. He attributed much of the success his company has had over the years to the skilled union ironworkers his company employs. Without fair union contractors like TSI, the members of our organization would not have the quality jobs and standard of living we have come to enjoy. Cornellier also emphasized the need for continued investment in our training programs. He said that due to the global nature of the economy it is more important now than ever to invest in and improve our already outstanding training programs.

Apprenticeship and Training Executive Director Lee Worley spoke about the week ahead and welcomed the more than 700 participants. He described the eight new courses available for participants and introduced the new additions to the national fund’s teaching faculty. As a final point, Executive Director Worley impressed upon the first time attendees the need to take what they learn in the upcoming week back to their locals and implement these new skills in the classroom. 

Lee then introduced Dr. Rosa Bellanca, president of Washtenaw Community College. Dr. Bellanca welcomed the Iron Workers and wished us a successful week of training. The folks at Washtenaw Community College are very accommodating to the Iron Workers and part of the reason our program is such a success.

Lee then thanked Dr. Rick Sullivan for his long service to making the Ironworker Instructor Training Program the industry standard. Dr. Sullivan then looked back to the instructor-training program held in Berkley, California. Rick reminisced there were approximately 50 attendees at the first trainer program. He then traced the development of the program over the next thirty years to what it has become today. At the end of Rick’s speech, General President Wise presented him with an I-beam to honor his service to the Iron Workers. In the last 30 years, it is hard to find anyone who had a greater influence on ironworker training than Rick Sullivan. Rick will long be remembered and his work will continue to live on in the classrooms across this great international. We all wish Rick a very long and happy retirement.

The opening ceremony wrapped up with Mike Relyin presenting 26 instructors with their qualified ironworker instructor certificates. These certificates mark a milestone in training. In order to earn a qualified ironworker instructor certificate, an instructor needs to take 100 hours of professional development or teacher training courses and another 100 hours of trade-specific classes, which takes a minimum of five years attending the Ironworker Instructor Training Program and is a significant achievement in an instructor’s development. The following instructors were presented with their certificate in Michigan this past year: Charles Berenger, Local 12 (Albany, N.Y.), Phillip Burney, Local 704 (Chattanooga, Tenn.), Thad Curtis Jr., Local 29 (Portland, Ore.), Richard Davis, Local 118 (Sacramento), Brian Donahue, Local 7 (Boston), April Finkbonner, Local 86 (Seattle), William Fuller, Local 21 (Omaha, Neb.), John Furman, Local 12 (Albany, N.Y.), Jason Hill, Local 782 (Paducah, Ky.), Richard Jordan Jr., Local 451 (Wilmington, Del.), Mike Kamp, Local 518 (St. Louis, Mo.), Armand LaRose Jr., Local 37 (Providence, R.I.), George MacDougal, Local 752 (Halifax, Nova Scotia), Jeb Miles, Local 477 (Sheffield, Ala.), Lawrence Oberding, Local 44 (Cincinnati), Greg O’Connor, Local 721 (Toronto, Ontario), Jason Puckett, Local 482 (Austin, Texas), Norman Richardson, Local 798 (Mobile, Ala.), James Ryckman, Local 14 (Spokane, Wash.), Benjamin Scoggins, Local 498 (Rockford, Ill.), William Troy Scoggins, Local 847 (Phoenix), Robert Sterling, Local 782 (Paducah, Ky.), Ryan Tappin, Local 771 (Regina, Saskatchewan), Stephen Tavernia, Local 33 (Rochester, N.Y.), Christopher Tobiasson, Local 387 (Atlanta) and Wayne Worrall Jr., Local 771 (Regina, Saskatchewan). Congratulations to all of the recipients. Their dedication to improving their presentation skills and staying current with the ever changing technologies in our industry will ensure our apprenticeship programs are leading the way in the construction industry. 

One group of people whose dedication and devotion to training and make our program a success year in and year out are the faculty and staff who teach the courses offered at the ironworker instructor training program. We would like to thank the following instructors for their hard work in maintaining the annual ironworkers instructor training program as the best in the industry: Dr. Jeff Allen, Todd Anderson, Robert Bass, Robert Bitzky, Michael Blakeman, Bryan Brady, Kathy Butcher, Jeff Carlson, David Carpio, Brian Colombo, Jim Creegan William Eccles, Richard Falasca, George Facista, Connie Foster, Chantee Geigan, Seth Gorman, Kelley Gottschang, Jim Green, Russ Gschwind, Davey Hall, Rex Hardman, Karl Hoes, William Hohlfeld, Joe Hunt III, Kurt Johnson, Pascal Kateme, Julie Kissel, Dan Klingman, Clint Knowlton, Dave Kolbe, Keith Lantz, Scott Malley, Mike Mansfield, Peter Marcyan, Paul Martinez, Gene Mathews, Mike McDonald, Neal McKelligan, Linda Meeks, Roman Meeks, Bill Michelini, Chris Monroe, Kim Nimon, Ed Penna Sr., Ed Penna Jr., Nanette Philbert, Jason Rafter, Michael Relyin, Michael Richards, Chad Rink, Michael Sampson, Deborah Samuels, Matthew Sargent, Jason Schmidt, Carl Singleton, Doug Smith, Carl Tengesdal, Alex Tocco, Jay Tweet, Albert Wadden, Joe Werbeck, Wayne Worrall Jr., Jerry Wircenski, Dick Zampa Jr. and Donald Zampa. These individuals spend many hours maintaining their skills and preparing their classes to make the program a success year in and year out.

Each year the Ironworkers National Training Fund and IMPACT upgrade existing courses and develop new courses for our instructors, contractors and union officials to take. We added a course for experienced apprentice coordinators so they could network and discuss the issues facing their programs and map out solutions to these problems. We added Using Exam View Testing Software, a computer-based testing program, which will allow our instructors to conduct flash polls and quizzes in class to enhance their presentations. Our reinforcing instruction got a big boost from the new Reinforcing Drawings and Rigging in Reinforcing course, which addressed the specific challenges involved in rigging large rebar structures.

One of the more recent and exciting additions to the program has been the addition of courses for contractors. These courses are sponsored by IMPACT and bring a new dimension and vitality to the entire program. Not only are contractors getting to see and interact with our apprentice instructors, but they are also getting a feel for the commitment and dedication it takes to be an apprentice instructor. In these courses, contractors develop and refine their skills and abilities to compete in an ever-changing marketplace. These classes have been met with great enthusiasm by the contractor community and have quickly filled up every year. This year IMPACT added a course, Bidding and Contractor Development. This new course along with existing courses Project Leadership and Project Management, Bidding to Win, Estimating and Bidding 201, Job Profits Program and the very important Getting Paid, will ensure our contractor partners will remain competitive in securing work for the union ironworker. These contractor courses enhance the program in many ways and further demonstrate the union ironworker is partnering with its contractors to benefit the entire industry.

A major tool in our toolbox to ensure every ironworker in the Iron Workers Union receives the highest quality training is the Ironworker Apprenticeship Certification Program (IACP). The IACP process is a rigorous set of standards a local training program must meet to achieve accreditation. These standards include having a properly tooled and equipped school, recordkeeping procedures, instructional material, trained staff and effective use of multi-media in the classroom. When a local achieves the IACP accreditation, the members, contractors and JATC/TICs, know their school is doing what it is supposed to do to effectively train the next generation of ironworkers. This year the following locals gained accreditation or re-accredited: Local 22 (Indianapolis), Local 25 (Detroit), Local 28 (Richmond, Va.), Local 37 (Providence, R.I.), Local 44 (Cincinnati), Local 112, (Peoria, Ill.), Local 136 (Chicago), Local 147 (Fort Wayne, Ind.), Local 372 (Cincinnati), Local 380 (Champaign, Ill.), Local 383 (Madison, Wis.), Local 399 (Camden, N.J.), Local 404 (Harrisburg, Pa.), Local 420 (Reading, Pa.), Local 482 (Austin, Texas), Local 489 (Scranton, Pa.), Local 492 (Nashville, Tenn.), Local 498 (Rockford, Ill.), Local 512 (Minneapolis/St. Paul), Local 550 (Canton, Ohio), Local 584 (Tulsa, Okla.), Local 782 (Paducah, Ky.), Local 786 (Sudbury, Ontario), Local 798 (Mobile, Ala.), Local 808 (Orlando, Fla.). Congratulations to all of the locals who have achieved this certification. To find out if your local has met the accreditation requirements of the IACP, go to http://www.ironworkers.org/training/certified-local-union-apprenticeship-programs.

The contribution of our vendors in the classrooms and on vendor night are one of the elements making the program truly special. The Ironworkers National Training Fund would like to extend a hearty thank you to all of the vendors who helped make the 2014 Annual Ironworker Instructor Training Program a huge success: American Welding Society, Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Applied Bolting Technology, Barsplice Products Inc., Bond Beebee, Center for Knowledge Solutions, CPWR, Clean Air America, The Crosby Group, Eastern Michigan University, ESAB Welding and Cutting, Harris Products Group, Hilti Inc., Hypertherm, Hytorc, Klein Tools Inc., Lincoln Electric Company, Magnegas, Max USA Corp., Metabo, Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., Pacific Laser Systems, Pipemaster Tools, Post Tensioning Institute, Red-D-Arc, Robovent, Skidmore-Wilhelm Manufacturing Co., Smith Equipment, Tiger Industries Corporation, University of Michigan and Washtenaw Community College. 

The Ironworkers National Training Fund would like to extend a special thank you to the officers and members of Local 25 (Detroit) for their many contributions throughout the year to making the program successful.

As we close the books on the 30th annual Ironworker Instructor Training Program, our eyes turn to next year and the 31st annual training program and the sixth one in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Next year’s program is shaping up to be even better than this year’s. The national fund staff is already hard at work planning the next program. We will be adding more new courses and the events and activities will again be entertaining, educational and of great value to the participants.