IBEW members from across the country competed in the second
annual IDEAL National Championship, and once again dominated in both the
apprentice and professional categories.
More than 30,000 electricians, both union and nonunion, competed in over 1,000 local and regional events, with 156 making it to the November finals in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Like last year, the competition was divided into four categories: individual professionals, individual apprentices, professional teams and apprentice teams, with contestants judged on speed and accuracy in pulling wire, cutting, stripping, terminating and testing in a multi-station event.
|Local 701 member Clay Noga, left, celebrates with Elgin, Ill., Local 117 members Greg Anliker and Will Barnett. The team took first place in the professional division and Anliker took second in the individual professional category.
IDEAL, a tool and electrical supply company, organized the national competition to inspire young men and women to pursue careers in the electrical field. According to the Department of Labor, 70,000 electrical jobs are opening up as the baby-boom generation retires.
At this year’s contest, the IBEW’s superior training was on full display in the apprentice categories, with Minneapolis Local 292 apprentice teams sweeping the top four spots. The winning team included Michael Fox, Andreas Penna and Jeremy Welle, who also won second place in the individual apprentice category.
Local 292 Training Director Derrick Atkins joined his students in Florida, where he served as a judge for the second year.
“This says quite a bit about what we do in Minneapolis and about the IBEW,” Atkins said. “It’s a combination of everything, the classroom instructors, the on-the-job training. Nobody does it better than we do.”
Long Island, N.Y., Local 25 apprentice Michael Yass, one of 56 students who competed this year from his local, took home the top individual apprentice award.
“It was a crazy experience,” Yass said. “You could feel the IBEW camaraderie. It felt like it was something more than me.”
In the professional category, returning individual champion Greg Anliker, a member of Elgin, Ill., Local 117, took second place this year and was on the winning three-person team with fellow Local 117 member Will Barnett and Lisle, Ill., Local 701 member Clay Noga.
“Everything about it was a little bit better than last year,” Anliker said. “And we got to come back and prove ourselves.”
Anliker, Barnett and Noga, who were featured in an IDEAL video that dubbed them the “Dream Team,” came in second last year in the professional team category.
“It was a relief to win this time,” Noga said. “We thought we had it last year. This year, we were still confident, but didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves.”
The team prize comes with a $60,000 cash award, which will be split between the three participants. Noga said he’ll use his winnings to go elk hunting. Anliker said has no plans yet, but will probably save most of his like he did last year.
Local 292 apprentice Michael Fox said he and his team will return next year as professionals, which means they could face Anliker, Barnett and Noga.
“The Minnesota All-Stars are coming for the Dream Team,” Fox said.