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Snapshots of 2017 NCC: Interviews with NCC Facilitators [VIDEO]

The 2017 ABC National Craft Championships (NCC) was a two-day competition of craft profession trainees and apprentices held in Fort Lauderdale in March.  This is the fourth in a series of posts featuring excerpts from conversations I had with some of the industry leaders I met at the event.

Mitch Clark works for Comfort Systems USA (Southwest), Inc in Phoenix, Arizona, but has also been chairman of the ABC National Craft Championships for the past three years while the event has been held in Fort Lauderdale.  I asked him to say a few words about this year’s competition during the hands-on portion of the event.  He told me that this year there were 170 competitors representing 28 different states participating.  Since this was the third year the event had been held in the Broward County Convention Center, the mechanics of hosting the competition had gone quite smoothly.  He praised the forklift drivers and other local workers who helped set up and maintain the competition area.  Clark observed that by holding the event in a location for more than a year, the organizers “get comfortable” with the venue and the people who support it.

Next year’s NCC will be held in Long Beach, California where ABC Southern California Chapter will help host the event which continues to grow larger each year.  Clark said the change in location next year would feel a little like “going into a foreign country” as everyone would need to become acclimated to the set-up in the new location.  He is confident that organizers will have the support of all the local ABC chapters.  Clark said with pride, “It’s a great family – the Associated Builders and Contractors – and a great organization to be with.”

Near the end of the competition, I caught up with Greg Sizemore, Vice President of EH&S and Workforce Development for ABC National in Washington.  His excitement and pride for the event was evident when he shared with me:

“This is my life; this is what we do; this is our industry.  You can’t drive down the road and look at a building and not see where craftsmen have put in time and talent to make that happen.  You can’t walk into your home and see the roofing or the drywall – the work that’s being done across America by some of the finest men and women in the industry.

“This is our Craft Championship.  We have 170 of the best competitors in America right here in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  They are competing.  They literally have 30 minutes left to finish a 6-hour practical exam.  Tonight they are going to celebrate; and tomorrow we are going to crown a bronze, a silver, and a gold medalist in 13 different crafts.  We are excited about this.  And next year we are going to Long Beach, California to do it all over again!”

You may watch these interviews in the 2½-minute video below, read earlier posts about this event, click on images to enlarge, see video of Greg Sizemore's thoughts at the end of the 2016 NCC, and watch for more coverage of the event in upcoming posts here on Construction Citizen.

Bonus video:  Watch some of the Power Line Worker Demonstration which continued throughout the day as the competitors in other skilled craft trades performed the six-hour hands-on portion of the competition in the following 4-minute video.