Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, Fellow PRSA: 619-997-2495 or

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Three Silver Medals in National Competition for ABCSD

Media Contact: Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR (619) 997-2495 or

(San Diego, Calif.) – Three craft competitors representing the Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego all won silver medals at the ABC National Craft Championships, held at the ABC National Workforce Development Conference in Birmingham, Alabama. This prestigious competition brings together the top apprentices and trainees in the country who vie to be named “number one” in each of thirteen trades.

San Diego’s winners include two East County residents: Plumbing champion Richard Ederer of Santee with Sherwood Mechanical; and Sheet Metal champion Kevin Sullivan of Alpine with Brian Cox Mechanical; and one from North County, Electrical champion Franklin Noble of Poway, representing Bergelectric of Escondido.

The three Silver Medals bring San Diego’s total to 16 medals won by San Diego competitors in 14 years of national competition.

San Diegans Win Silver: ABC San Diego Craft Champions celebrate their Silver Medals in Birmingham at the awards ceremony: (left to right) Richard Ederer, Franklin Noble, and Kevin Sullivan.

For the first time this year, special safety awards were given to the competitor in each craft discipline who demonstrated the highest level of best practices in safety and operations while competing. ABC San Diego apprentice Franklin Noble won in the Electrical category.

Ederer, Noble, and Sullivan faced off among national finalists from local, regional and state competitions around the country. Prior to the competition, each spent several weeks studying and practicing his skills at the ABC Apprenticeship Training Trust lab facilities in Poway. They received guidance and tips from ABCSD’s instructors and previous competitors.

Sheet metal competitor Kevin Sullivan described the experience as “hectic, nerve racking, a good time, borderline life changing.” Sullivan was so focused during the competition, “I didn’t even notice the spectators. I was head down, sheet metal was flying. I looked up and saw my son once, said hi, and that was about it.”

Sullivan invested a lot of personal time in additional training prior to the competition and credited his journeymen mentors at Brian Cox Mechanical with helping prepare him with the necessary skills. Sullivan said it also helped to have other members of the San Diego team there to help calm each other down.

Sherry Yarbrough, ABC Apprenticeship Training Trust Executive Director, and William Smyth, Chief Financial Officer of Sherwood Mechanical and chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors San Diego Apprenticeship Training Trust board of trustees were part of a local group of colleagues cheering on the competitors. “We have a lot of past success. We set the bar higher and higher every single year,” said Smyth. “Our winners compete not just for themselves, but also on behalf of their peers and on behalf of our apprenticeship training program. It is a lot of pressure. It was exciting to be in Birmingham to watch and sweat out the results with Richard, Kevin, and Franklin. They deserve so much credit for putting in the hard work it takes to reach this level of excellence,” said Smyth.

”We are especially thrilled to see Franklin Noble bring home one of the special safety awards on behalf of San Diego,” said Yarbrough. “Safety is a priority for our member contractors and their employees, and we emphasize safety every day in every course as part of our apprenticeship training program. I am pleased that ABC’s national competition is now recognizing the importance of safety performance with this new award category.”

A conference highlight, the ABC National Craft Championships event started in 1987 as a way to recognize the high quality of craft training in construction careers. The competition emphasizes the important role craft skills training plays in construction, by evaluating contestants’ knowledge of their craft as well as their skill and talent. Seasoned apprentices and craft trainees from around the country compete toe-to-toe to determine the top three craftpersons in each trade.

The first part of the competition features a written test of the competitor’s technical and theoretical knowledge. On day two, apprentices and craft trainees are assigned their workspaces, and given the plans, tools and materials they need to build professional projects. Judges observe and inspect the ongoing work being performed. When time is called, the judges move in for the final inspection. All of this takes place before a live audience. The results are announced in award ceremonies the following day.

To compete in the national event, contestants must first successfully complete hundreds of hours of classroom training and thousands of hours of practical field experience to be eligible for preliminary local competitions.

About ABC San Diego

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national trade association representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 70 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work. The San Diego Chapter of ABC represents construction and construction-related firms throughout San Diego County. To find out more about ABCSD, visit,

ABCSD  I  13825 Kirkham Way Poway, CA 92064  I  Tel: 858.513.4700  I  Fax: 858.513.2373  I  I

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