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

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One Gold, Two Bronze Medals Won By San Diego Competitors


Local apprentices rise to the top at 2018 National Craft Championships

(Long Beach, Calif.) – San Diego based construction craft apprentices will bring three medals home from the 2018 Associated Builders and Contractors National Craft Competition in Long Beach, California. These victories extend San Diego’s multi-year winning streak to nine years in a row, for a total of 24 total medals.

ABC San Diego apprentices win medals: ABC San Diego Craft Champions (L to R) Daniel Fortini (Gold), Alberto Ceballos and Kevin Mizicko (Bronze), Gabriel Cuenca and Joshua Stuart extended the San Diego win streak at the 2018 ABC National Craft Championships in Long Beach, California.

Daniel Fortini of Ramona, employed by Alpha Mechanical, won Gold in Sheet Metal. Alberto Ceballos of Poway, an employee of WR Robbins took the Sheet Metal Bronze. Kevin Mizicko of Spring Valley, employed by Western Pump, won the Bronze in Electrical.

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 three medals this year bring San Diego’s total up to 24 medals won by San Diego competitors in 18 years of national competition, including a winning streak of nine straight years.

Also competing on behalf of ABC San Diego was Joshua Stuart of San Marcos representing Bergelectric in San Diego in the Electrical competition. Gabriel Avila Cuenca of Escondido, employed by Davis Mechanical, competed in the Plumbing competition. The five apprentices make up San Diego’s largest competition team ever at the 2018 National Championships.

San Diego’s representatives matched their professional skills against the winners of other 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.

Daniel Fortini puts it all together for Gold in the Sheet Medal category at the 2018 ABC National Craft Championships.

Daniel Fortini said after learning of his gold medal win, “I’m feeling great. It was exciting, a very happy moment.” Fortini said he felt positive about his chance of winning a medal when he finished the competition. “It was my attention to detail, and speed equals productivity just like on the job. I enjoyed it, it was a once in a lifetime chance.” Fortini said his co-workers and supervisors at Alpha Mechanical were on hand and very supportive of his efforts, including his father, Mark.

Bronze medalist Kevin Mizicko found the spark he needed in the Electrical competition at the 2018 ABC National Craft Championships.

Bronze Medalist Kevin Mizicko said his wife Jenna’s phone “blew up” with congratulations after she shared the news about his medal. “I was shocked. I was in with 35 strong guys. Only ten of us finished. I didn’t know for sure, but I thought I would be in the running. It’s a blast, it’s definitely nerve wracking.”

San Diego contributed a large group of competition judges across the 17 trades, including two former national medal winners, Kevin Strahler of West Coast Air Conditioning, and Clayton Courtier of Southcoast Heating & Air.

Attending and participating in the National Convention activities were Shandon Harbour, ABCSD President and CEO; Tracey Barrett, Director of Education; ABCSD professional staff members Sabrina Kosmas and Judy Gutkowski; board members and trustees Diane Koester-Byron, President/CEO, IE Pacific; Walter Fritz, President/CEO, Nuera Contracting Group; Brady Hill, Vice President, Helix Electric; Les Denherder, President/CEO, HPS Mechanical; Alex Galicia, Owner, BPI Plumbing; Kristina Bell, Interpipe Contracting; Renee Larzalere, CFO, Alpha Mechanical; Jason Hiles, Owner/Partner, HR Plumbing; ABCSD apprenticeship instructors, and dozens of family members and San Diego industry professionals.

“When you have a quality training program with quality students, our results speak for themselves,” said Harbour. “Our multi-year winning streak is undeniable proof of the skills our apprentices develop and apply to building our region’s businesses, schools, hospitals, homes, infrastructure, military complexes, and so much more.”

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.

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.

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

About ABC San Diego

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national trade association representing 21,000 members in 70 chapters nationwide. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 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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