CDA Judges National Plumbing Apprentice Contest
The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC) held its annual convention last month with the theme, “Go Big and Innovate.” More than 700 plumbing, heating and cooling contractors from union and non-union shops, along with manufacturers, suppliers and service company representatives, also attended the event at the Rio Hotel Convention Center in Las Vegas. The Copper Development Association (CDA) was a sponsor of the Plumbing and HVAC Apprentice Contest. Harold Moret, CDA Project Manager and Piping Applications Specialist, was one of the judges.
We were pleased to have 17 plumbing apprentices participate in the annual PHCC contest. I’ve been a judge for the last nine years and have been impressed with the skill and dedication demonstrated by the young men and women who have participated in the national contest. These union and non-union apprentices had already competed and won in both state and regional contests before joining us in Las Vegas for the PHCC convention.
Over a 7-hour period, the apprentices roughed in a DWV (drain, waste, vent) on a 4’x 8’ table. They were required to install distribution piping, hot/cold water faucets, a toilet, vanity and shower, complete with drains.
As a judge, I was looking to see how the apprentices installed the copper piping and fixtures. They needed to be measured and placed accurately with attention paid to both appearance and functionality. It’s a challenging exercise because these apprentices have only had one or two of years training and are not yet journeymen.
The day after the contest the judges met with each apprentice to provide critiques of their performances. This was an opportunity for them to receive one-on-one feedback and additional instruction. The three top plumbing apprentices who received awards in the PHCC Educational Foundation’s Plumbing Apprentice Contest, were:
- 1st Place – Curtis Bruington, Central Texas Plumbing Solutions, Waco, Tex.
- 2nd Place – Cameron Lange, Lange Plumbing, Las Vegas, Nev.
- 3rd Place – Jason Robertson, Mike Tilton Plumbing, Shreveport, La.
Many of the participants compete in this competition over multiple years as they get more experience. It’s also great to see them learn how to use copper. In my more than 20 years of experience using copper in the piping trade, I still view it is as the best material for our industry. Copper is strong, yet malleable, requires little maintenance and lasts for decades.