SD Apprentices Place in National Competition

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​Two apprentices from South Dakota recently competed in the National PHCC Apprentice Competition held during CONNECT 2022 in Charlotte, NC.

In the Plumbing Division, Jacob Elsbecker from Midwestern Mechanical, was awarded first place. 

In the HVAC Division, Harrison Bosler from Howe, Inc received second place. 

The competition was held on October 5 & 6 on the tradeshow floor. A total of eighteen plumbing and ten HVAC apprentices from across the nation took part in the contests.

The HVAC competitors were required to complete a written test, demonstrate proper brazing techniques and perform a hands-on diagnostic on an HVAC package unit, with system errors created by the Foundation’s contractor volunteers for the competition.

The competitors also had to perform a pressure and leak test, demonstrate proper refrigerant recovery procedures and the ability to accurately take a variety of instrument readings.

The plumbing apprentices were required to rough-in a bathroom system. The set-up includes a toilet, sink and shower, complete with supply, waste and vent lines, plus cleanouts and extra features designed to test the contestants’ knowledge and skills.

The test set-up includes a variety of pipe materials – cast iron, copper, PVC and corresponding joining methods.

A dedicated team of contractor volunteers arrived two days before the competitions to assemble the competitor test benches, distribute the materials and supplies and setup the testing areas.

They monitor the competitions, evaluate the apprentices’ work and provide constructive feedback on each competitor’s performance following the event.

The contests are made possible by the generous support of several industry sponsors who provide monetary support and in-kind material and tool donations.

There were over fifty sponsors for the 2022 competitions, including: A. O. Smith; AB&I Foundry; Bradford White Corp.; Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute; Contractor Magazine; Copper Development Association; Delta Faucet Co.; Emerson Copeland; Ferguson; International Code Council; Kohler Company; Legend Valve; Milwaukee Tool; Moen; NIBCO INC.; North American Technician Excellence (NATE); Oatey; PHCC Academy; PHCC-National Auxiliary; Plumbing & Mechanical Magazine; Rheem; RIDGID; Sharkbite; State Water Heaters; Tyler Pipe & Coupling and Zoeller Pump Company.

Milwaukee Tool made a major contribution to the Apprentice Contests again this year by donating most of the tools needed by the contestants for the competition. This gift allowed the competitors to skip the trouble of shipping their own tools and to go home with a new set of tools to power their work long after the competition ends.  RIDGID is also providing tools to each of the top placing competitors.

“We have an excellent team of volunteers and sponsors who make sure that everything these apprentices need is onsite and ready to go when it’s time for the competition to begin,” said Foundation Chairman Kevin Tindall. “The apprentices get to have an experience they will remember their entire life and the PHCC CONNECT attendees get to see the skills of the next generation in action.”

Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall, Jacob Elsbecker, and Plumbing Contest Chair Jim Steinle.

HVAC Contest Committee Chair Chip Greene, Harrison Bosler and PHCC Educational Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall.