The 2015 National Craft Championships has come and gone. The dust has settled, the stations have been disassembled, and the competitors have returned to their homes and to their craft jobs. Over 50 medals were awarded and hundreds of prizes given away. However, for the 187 craft workers that competed, the competition was more than just winning a medal: they were competing for the title of craft champion.
During the competition, Construction Citizen's Jeff Stautner had the opportunity to meet and interview a handful of the very talented and hardworking competitors, like Structural-Welding Gold Medalist, ABC Greater Houston sponsored Brandon Moore. Moore received his welding training at Lee College in Baytown, Texas under the Construction and Maintenance Educational Foundation (CMEF), an affiliate of ABC Greater Houston geared towards recruiting and training new workers for the industrial field. Moore gives credit to CMEF and his employer, Jacobs, for helping him to succeed in this competition:
“ABC/CMEF taught me how to weld, but more importantly they taught me how to do it safely...They taught me the right way straight from the start. When it came time for the competition, they made absolutely sure I had everything I could possibly need to be prepared. They contacted my employer and arranged that I could have time to practice at work and learn from more welders and perfect my technique. They showed me some video of past years competitions and spoke with me on what to expect once I got there. ABC/CMEF made sure I was prepared for anything the competition could throw at me.”
When asked what came with his gold medal, Moore said that the greatest prize he earned was the title.
“Winning the National Craft Championships was not only a great confidence boost, but it also opened a door to anywhere I could want to go. If your resume says you were good enough to win in a national competition in your craft, then any employer would be glad to have you. I learned a lot from the experience, and the confidence alone will be enough to jump-start my career as a professional welder...Above all, having that gold medal on my resume will take me anywhere I want to go. You get to put that on your resume. You get to carry that with you the rest of your life; you will always be a gold medal winner.”
Randall Kubin, an insulator sponsored by ABC Greater Houston and employed by Brand Energy Solutions, described the competition as a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” and expressed that he “put everything [he] had out on the floor that day.”
Kubin’s hard work and professional performance earned him First Place Safety in Insulation. When asked what prepared him for the title, he says being thorough and “experience in his craft.”
“Every competitor is given a JSA, a Job Safety Analysis sheet, before you start work at all. It counts in your competing time.You fill out what you’re doing, what tools you’re going to use. You have to be very thorough: where you can hurt yourself, what you can do to prevent it. For instance, we’re using a crimper, how am I going to prevent it? I’m going to wear leather gloves. You know, you have to put everything down. Say you’re going to keep your area clean, there’s a tripping hazard. You have to be very thorough, and I think that’s what gives me an edge because I have that experience from my craft.”
What the two ABC Greater Houston competitors could both say was that all the competitors at the National Craft Championships brought their “A-game”. Moore commented that coming out of the room “...there was a lot of tough competition this year. I did my best and felt confident about my own work, but seeing the welds my competition did, I was honestly impressed. There's a lot I could learn from them.” Also seeing the work being done by fellow competitors, not just from his own category, Kubin stated that “coming here is an accomplishment in itself.”
Throughout the National Craft Championships, it was easy to see the dedication and passion that craft workers have for their craft. They hold themselves to high standards and they put pride into their work. It was an honor to be among these great craft professions, and we at Construction Citizen are looking forward to seeing what next year’s competition will offer.