40th Annual Sheet Metal Competition awards brightest in industry

Missouri, Wisconsin, Washington turn out multiple winners in five categories; Oklahoma detailer earns first prize, drives away with new Harley-Davidson

More than 250 sheet metal apprentices traveled to Las Vegas to compete in the 40th Annual International Sheet Metal Competition hosted by the International Training Institute (ITI) for the sheet metal and air conditioning industry.

LAS VEGAS – More than 250 sheet metal apprentices and their families from the United States and Canada ventured to Las Vegas March 5-9 for the 40th Annual International Sheet Metal Competition hosted by the International Training Institute (ITI) for the sheet metal and air conditioning industry.

Five apprentices from Sheet Metal Local Joint Apprenticeship Training Centers around the United States took top honors in the five sheet metal disciplines open to apprentices only: HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning), industrial/welding, service, architectural and TAB (Testing, Adjusting and Balancing in heating and air conditioning).

Detailing, the sixth category, was open to journeymen and apprentices. On Jan. 11, the 12 finalists who would be allowed to compete in the category at the competition – 11 journeymen and one apprentice – were announced.

The detailing category, now in its second year, was added as a result of a shift in the industry. Detailing skills – which allow sheet metal workers to generate and manage building data on the computer using building information modeling software – are becoming increasingly in-demand in the industry.

To encourage sheet metal workers to get certified in ITI’s Benchmark BIM training software, ITI awarded the winner of the detailing category with a brand new Fat Boy Lo Harley-Davidson motorcycle from Henderson Harley-Davidson.

“This was the second year for the detailing category, and the competition was fierce,” said James Shoulders, executive administrator for ITI. “To earn a spot as one of the top 12 detailers in the country at this competition is a feat in and of itself.”

The first place winners, announced at the banquet the evening of March 9, include:

Industrial: Josh Lohman, 28, Kennewick, Wash.
Architectural: James Alsteen, 25, Milwaukee, Wisc.
HVAC: Aaron VanRheen, 27, Portland, Ore.
Service: Thomas Sorensen, 38, Fairfax, Calif.
Testing Adjusting Balancing (TAB): William Kerner, 32, Stafford, Va.

Joey Hovarter, 36, of Moore, Okla. – employed by Matherly Mechanical Contractors LLC in Midwest City, Okla. – received first place in the detailing category and drove away with the big prize – the Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

“This is really the seed of our future. These students train and work diligently all year, and we get to showcase that,” said Shoulders, who had competed in the contest himself years before when he was an apprentice. “We have contractors here tonight from all facets. Those contractors need good, young people to make their businesses successful and ultimately make this industry successful. So, the industry benefits greatly by the training they receive throughout the year … This is the best of the best here.”

More than 15,000 apprentices are registered at training facilities in the United States and Canada. The International Training Institute (best known as ITI) is jointly sponsored by Sheet Metal Worker’s International Association (SMWIA) and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA). ITI supports apprenticeship and advanced career training for union workers in the sheet metal industry throughout the United States and Canada. Located in Alexandria, Va., ITI produces a standardized sheet metal curriculum supported by a wide variety of training materials free of charge to sheet metal apprentices and journeymen.

For more information about ITI, visit www.sheetmetal-iti.org or call 703-739-7200.

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