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United Association of Journeymen & Apprentices Demonstrate Expertise in Using Copper

By Dale Powell, Copper Development Association, Project Manager and Piping Applications Specialist

North America’s top apprentices showcased their skills and craft at the 26th Annual International Apprenticeship Competition last month at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich.

I had a great time meeting the promising young apprentices last month at the 26th annual UA competition at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich. The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA) host the annual event.

The contest featured 31 contestants who were competing in a variety of different disciplines: plumbing, pipefitting, sprinkler fitting, welding and mechanical service.

2013 winners of the UA International Apprenticeship contest.

One of the more challenging competitions was working with copper, a project that took the apprentices four hours to complete. The competitors used just about every type of joint used in copper piping systems. We had a remarkable group of talented men who showed us their skills in working with copper. The projects were plumb, level and square. They matched the required dimensions and followed the isometric and fabrication drawings.

Congratulations to the winners:

  • Michael West, HVAC Service Technician – District 3 – Local 142, San Antonio, Texas.
  • Nicholas Zabloski, Pipefitter – District 4 – Local 539, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Paul Giangrande, Plumber – District 1 – Local 1, New York, N.Y.
  • Eric Furniss, Sprinkler Fitter – Eric Furniss, District 2 – Local 692, Philadelphia
  • Nicholas Haney, Welder – District 5 – Local 50, Toronto, Canada

We were also pleased to be able to provide a class twice daily called “Copper Piping Systems, Advanced Installations, Specialized Design and Safe Operation.” Harold Moret, a project manager and piping applications specialist for the CDA, joined me to teach the class, along with Rick Wieting and Gary Shimmel of the UA. The training class was part of the 60th UA instructor training program. We taught participants a variety of skills, including copper codes and standards, installation practices, soldering, brazing, no-flame joining and other copper-related information.

We enjoyed demonstrating the unique characteristics of copper. Copper is a superior material for building, demonstrating excellent conductivity. It’s durable and is corrosion resistant.  It’s reliable, recyclable and has withstood the test of time.

Attendees told us they had seen a surge in construction nationally in recent months. Tradesmen who had trouble finding work were now in demand. That’s good news for the UA and the copper industry.

For more information about copper use in the building trades, please contact me, dpowell@copperalliance.us, or take a look at the CDA website where you’ll find additional resources to help you use copper effectively, including the Copper Tube Handbook.



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