During friendly competition, apprentices and journeymen electricians vied for a chance to advance to the sunshine state and win some serious cash.
A qualifying event for the Ideal National Championship was held at both the Youngstown and Warren JATCs involving members of IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown and Local 573 in Warren.
At each, apprentices bonded over pizza and soft drinks, while cheering and playfully razzing each other as they took turns at the board mockups containing basic outlets needing to be correctly assembled.
The boards in the competition change each year, said Will Brown, area sales manager for Ideal Industries.
“We want to make it so all levels of apprentices can participate and understand what the competition requires while making it challenging enough for the professional electricians,” Brown said.
Doing it right. Doing it safely.
Apprentices and professionals complete the board as fast and safe as possible, he added.
The fastest electrician in the state qualifies for the national championship in Tampa, Fla. The winner of the Florida contest will take home $40,000.
At the Warren JATC, several seasoned apprentices helped a first-year apprentice, sharing quick pointers to ensure the quickest time possible.
Down in Youngstown, fourth-year, inside-commercial apprentice Jordan Braun participated, completing the board in 1:42.
He got into the industry after working in construction.
“Electrical seemed the most interesting of the trades to me,” he said.
Fastest times include Randy Lowe of Local 64 in Youngstown at 1:22:65, and Colin Burdette from Local 573 in Warren who clocked in at 1:38:84.
While those top times did not earn automatic qualifying spots in the nationals, both Lowe and Burdette still have a chance to be randomly selected for 10 wildcard spots comprised of individual event winners.