SYCAMORE, Ill. — IDEAL® Electrical showcased the “know-how” and professionalism of electrical professionals, students and apprentices from across the country during its second annual IDEAL National Championship weekend, held November 10 and 11 at Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
A series of final real-world competitive challenges were held in a “Final Four-like” arena with friends and family cheering on competitors. Champions were crowned in three classifications: professionals, students/apprentices and teams.
IDEAL organized the national competition to inspire young men and women to pursue careers in the electrical field and relieve some suffering the industry faces due to a lack of skilled labor. According to the U.S. Labor Department, 70,000 electrical jobs are opening up as Boomers retire. “We need people to fill the job gap, otherwise building and renovation projects will eventually impact local and regional economies,” said Doug Sanford, IDEAL Electrical Group President. “This is a great industry and for people who like to solve problems and work with their hands. There are rewarding careers to be had in the electrical profession.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of electricians is projected to grow 9-percent from 2016 to 2026, as homes and businesses will require more wiring and electricians to install necessary components. Industry experts are concerned there won’t be enough qualified tradesman available in the coming years to meet demand.
“It’s important for young people to get in the trade because there is always going to be the need for someone to take care of a buildings’ infrastructure,” said Matthew Koreso, freshmen at Thaddeus Steven College of Technology (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) and this year’s youngest competitor at age 18. “Rather than going to a traditional 4-year college, and being in debt, many don’t realize you can pick up a trade and earn income while you learn.”
Road to The Championship Weekend:
More than 30,000 union and non-union electricians, students and apprentices competed in over 1,000 local and regional events. Only 156 individuals made it to the finals. The qualifying round events were held at electrical distributors, trade schools and other organizations across the nation.
The competition was divided into four categories: individual professionals, individual students/apprentices, professional teams, and student/apprentice teams. Each competitor could compete as an individual and/or team of three. Contestants needed to demonstrate both their problem-solving and physical skills across five categories: pulling wire, cutting, stripping, terminating and testing through a multi-station speed test judged by fastest completion time and overall accuracy of the wire connection.
Events were conducted in 63 IDEAL sales territories. Professional tradesmen, students and apprentices competed to become territory winners and earn their spot at IDEAL’s National Championship Weekend. 10 teams also earned a spot to compete in this year’s team competition. Each qualifying contender also received a prize and travel accommodations.
The second annual IDEAL National Championship Weekend was emceed by returning host, Chip Wade, owner of Wade Works LLC (a design and construction firm), contractor and master carpenter on HGTV’s Curb Appeal: The Block and Elbow Room.
“I travel all over the country, doing various regional and national events – there truly is nothing like this out there,” said Wade. “IDEAL has developed a world-class experience that elevates the tradesman and their craftsmanship. I’m honored to be a part of it.”
2017 IDEAL National Championship Award Ceremony Winners:
“With year two in the books, we’re blown away by the passion and comradery of all the competitors,” said Sanford. “They come from all over the country. They differ in age, gender, union and non-union – yet time and time again they applaud one another’s work, strategize together and cheer for each other. They arrive as strangers, but leave with new friendships, mentors and a reinvigorated passion for the trade.”
Roman Ryszewski, of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, took home the coveted 1st place trophy and $75,000 cash prize. He had been knocked out in the early rounds of the 2016 IDEAL Championship Weekend. “This is proof that anyone can do it,” said Ryszewski. “I want to thank the guys I met last year, who supported me. I came, just a single guy from Pennsylvania, and look at me now. Thank you!”
Returning 2016 professional champion, Greg Anliker finished in second place this year and addressed the crowd during the award ceremony. “Thank you, IDEAL; the second year is even better than the first. I’m worn out and I’m sure Roman is too. Congratulations to our new electrician’s champion – I consider him a great friend and I’m sure he does too.”
IDEAL announced during the ceremony that the competition would be returning for its third year in 2018.
“We want to thank all of our competitors, judges, channel partners, trade schools, distributors and our colleagues who helped make this competition possible,” said Sanford. “For all you electricians out there who didn’t get here this year, make it a point to be a part of this incredible event next year.”
Category: professional electrical tradesmen participating as an individual:
- 1st place Roman Ryszewski, Lehigh University
- Prize: $75,000
- 2nd place Greg Anliker, Kellenberger Electric
- Prize: $25,000
- 3rd place Seth Agnew, Catalyst Electric
- Prize: $10,000
Category: professional electrical tradesmen participating as a team:
- 1st place Greg Anliker, Will Barnett and Clay Noga | Kellenberger Electric
- Prize: $60,000 (split amongst teammates)
Category: students/apprentices participating as an individual:
- 1st place Michael Yass, Sunrise Electrical IBEW Local 25
- Prize: $30,000 + $5,000 for school
- 2nd place Jeremy Welle, Minneapolis JATC
- Prize: $20,000
- 3rd place Donald Riggs, IEC
- Prize: $10,000
Category: students/apprentices participating as a team:
- 1st place Michael Fox, Andreas Penna and Jeremy Welle| Minneapolis JATC
- Prize: $30,000 (split amongst teammates) + $5,000 for school