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

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ABC San Diego Adds to Medal Totals in 2015

(Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) – San Diego Sheet Metal Craft Champion Kevin Strahler of Murietta with West Coast Air Conditioning represented the Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego and won a silver medal at the ABC National Craft Championships. The Championships were held at the ABC National Workforce Development Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. 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.

The 2015 Silver Medal brings San Diego’s total to 17 medals won by San Diego competitors in 14 years of national competition, including a winning streak of five straight years.

ABC San Diego apprentice wins silver: ABC San Diego Craft Champion Kevin Strahler enroute to his Silver Medal win at the ABC National Craft Championships.

Strahler and his ABC San Diego Craft Champion teammates, Electrical champion Daniel Siordia of Clairemont, representing Rowan Electric in San Diego; and Plumbing champion Daniel Baldwin of El Cajon representing Interpipe Contracting, 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.

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 led a group of ABC San Diego representatives to the competition. “The pressure gets tougher every single year to keep our win streak going,” said Yarbrough. “Our competitors know they have a lot to live up to. They are competing as representatives of all their fellow apprentices and trainees and they don’t want to let them down.”

Yarbrough said this year’s competition took place two months earlier than in previous years, which meant San Diego’s representatives less training time than in the past. “Considering the shorter period for prep time, which the competitors have to fit in around work, school, and family, it’s amazing they were still in the hunt for the medals until the very end.”

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. Results are announced in award ceremonies the final day.

To compete in the national event, contestants must first 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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