SYCAMORE, Ill. — IDEAL® Electrical honored and showcased the abilities of electrical professionals and students/apprentices from across the country in a series of final head-to-head, bracket-style competitive challenges at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on November 11–12.
“We’re grateful to have provided an exciting platform that utilizes their expertise in a competition based on skills essential to their livelihood and to have rewarded their success along the way,” said Jim James, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IDEAL Industries, Inc. “What quickly became evident is the profound effect the competition had on our finalists. Several competitors shared how their companies and communities came together to raise funds to send their families to watch them compete. One tradesman was even promoted as a result of him qualifying for the finals. That’s moving stuff.”
Competitors came from all across the country, many with moving stories. A group of four young apprentices, who pulled themselves out of real tough life situations to become students at the Golconda, Illinois Job Corps, qualified for semi-finals alongside their teacher, Christina LaDue, after traveling to St. Louis, Carbondale and Nashville to compete in the preliminary rounds.
“We have over 200 people rooting for us back at home,” said LaDue. “This competition means the world to these incredibly talented young guys, and we are just so honored to be here.”
Journey to Semi-Finals:
The competition was divided into two categories: one for professionals and one for students/apprentices. Each could compete as an individual and/or team of three. Contestants needed to demonstrate both their problem-solving and physical skills across four categories: wire cutting, stripping, termination and testing through a multi-station speed test judged by fastest completion time and overall accuracy of the wire connection.
From April through October, over 900 preliminary events were held in 33 states by electrical distributors, trade schools and other organizations across the nation; resulting in 23,524 participants nationwide vying for a coveted spot to compete for the IDEAL National Championship title.
The top 62 professional tradesmen, 62 students/apprentices (participating as individuals), along with the top five professional tradesmen and top five student/apprentice teams, with the fastest times from 62-regional-specific preliminary rounds, advanced to the two-day competition in Orlando. Each qualifying contender also received a 13-piece tool kit (valued at $325 dollars) and travel accommodations.
The first-ever IDEAL National Championship was emceed by Chip Wade, owner of WadeBuilt LLC (a design and construction firm), contractor and master carpenter on HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block and Elbow Room.
“It was an honor to be part of this experience,” said Wade. “Whether someone won or lost, there was always a sense of gratitude. It was beyond cool to see IDEAL, a 100-year-old family-owned company, develop a world-class experience that truly elevates the tradesman and their craftsmanship. This competition alone is going to shakeup the industry in a much needed way.”
“What a great weekend this turned out to be,” said semi-finalist competitor Nick Giacomazzi, representing City Electric of Plainview, Inc. “The camaraderie at this tournament has been unmatched in all of my experiences.”
During the awards ceremony, IDEAL revealed that the competition would return in 2017; along with the top 5 professional tradesmen, top 5 student/apprentices (who participated as individuals), and the top 2 professional and student/apprentice teams would be guaranteed spots to return to next year’s semi-finals.
“It is our hope that this competition and the excitement around it will inspire young tradesmen to pursue careers in the electrical field and relieve some suffering the industry faces due to a lack of skilled labor,” said James. “We want to thank all of our competitors, judges, channel partners, trade schools, distributors and our colleagues who helped make this competition possible. We hope to see you all next year.”
2016 IDEAL National Championship Winners:
Category: professional electrical tradesmen participating as an individual:
- 1st place – Greg Anliker, Kellenberger Electric
- Prize: $75,000
- 2nd place – Timothy Morris, Inglett & Stubbs
- Prize: $25,000
- 3rd place – Joshua Kol, Circuit Electric
- Prize: $10,000
Category: professional electrical tradesmen participating as a team:
- 1st place – Sam Buche, Jon Dahlstrom and Michael Dahlstrom | Multitech Electric
- Prize: $60,000 (split amongst teammates)
Category: students/apprentices participating as an individual:
- 1st place – Corbin Rios, IBEW Local-271
- Prize: $30,000 + $5,000 for school
- 2nd place – Joshua Collins, Blue Ridge Electric
- Prize: $20,000
- 3rd place – Michael Fox, IBEW Local-292
- Prize: $10,000
Category: students/apprentices participating as a team:
- 1st place – Patrick Flanery, Bryan Olson and Ben Woodworth | Minneapolis Local 292 JATC
- Prize: $30,000 (split amongst teammates) + $5,000 for school
For more information on The IDEAL National Championship, visit www.IDEALnationals.com. For photos and videos from this year’s competition visit our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/IDEALindustries.
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