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

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Construction Professionals Complete ABC San Diego Craft Training Program

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

(San Diego, Calif.) – Ninety-nine proud apprentices and craft trainees, the largest graduating class in several years, celebrated years of hard work with family and friends, graduating with their apprenticeship and journeyperson certificates on Friday, June 17 from the Associated Builders and Contractors Apprenticeship Training program.

Graduates have successfully completed a state and federally approved apprenticeship program or craft training program, mastering skills to work as professionals in crafts such as plumbing and pipefitting, electrical, electronic systems technician and sheet metal. Their course of study includes up to four years of classroom and hands-on lab training, plus thousands of on the job hours of practical field experience with San Diego area contractors.

2016 Outstanding Graduates of the Year: David Moreno, Abraham Zaragoza, Tuan Phan, and Ronald Smith

Special awards recognizing exceptional achievements were presented to the following students:

David Moreno and Abraham Zaragoza, electrical apprentices both employed by Gould Electric, Tuan Phan, electrical apprentice employed by Laser Electric, and Ronald Smith, plumbing apprentice employed by Interpipe Contracting, are the 2016 Outstanding Graduates of the Year. All have achieved straight A grade averages and no absences during their entire four years in the ABC Apprenticeship Training Program.

This year’s Academic Achievement Graduates with straight A averages and minimum absences are:

Electrical apprentices:

David L. Blickenstaff and Kenneth R. McCart, Prime Electric; Michael L. Felkins and Jose. A. Flores, Bergelectric; Devin A. Giraud, Precision Electric; Erik C. Moe and Douglas S. Welchons, Rowan Electric; and Vu V. Nguyen, Helfers Electric.

Plumbing apprentices:

Logan J. Najera, Helix Mechanical; and Nason H. Spangler, Pacific Rim Mechanical.

Sheet Metal apprentices:

Gerardo Diaz, Certified Air Conditioning; and Kevin W. Strahler, West Coast Air Conditioning.

Ten graduates achieved Perfect Attendance, without a single absence from classroom training in their four year apprenticeship program:

Electrical apprentices: Eleazar Alvarado, Prime Electric; Luke M. Beaudoin, Laser Electric; Scott G. Bornhoft, Gould Electric; Brandon M. Coffman, Precision Electric; Kambiz Foroudi, Stronghold Engineering; Shannon D. Juarez and Jeffrey J. Kruger, Bergelectric; and James R. Seitz, Ensley Electric.

Plumbing apprentice: Andrew J. Anacker, Davis Mechanical.

Sheet Metal apprentice: Gregory S. Stuart, Atlas Mechanical

The 2016 Instructor of the Year is Roger Rakotz, Electrical Instructor. Selection is based on student evaluations and overall performance.

All graduates earned college credits through the San Diego Community College District, which can be applied toward an Associate of Science degree.

“As an employer, I understand how much effort apprentices put in every day on the job because I see it myself. Then our students must spend several nights a week and plenty of Saturdays putting time into classroom training and lab projects. It’s a tremendous accomplishment to complete this program,” said ABC Apprenticeship Training Trust Chairman Brian Lynch.

“The Class of 2016 is the largest group of graduates we’ve had in six years,” said Lynch. “We’ve gotten through the worst of the recession years. It’s encouraging to see San Diego’s construction industry able to offer more apprenticeship opportunities to our students.”

“This program is as rigorous as any college degree, especially when you consider that all our graduates work a full-time job too,” said ABC Apprenticeship Training Trust Executive Director Sherry Yarbrough. “Graduation is a celebration for our students, but it is also important to thank the families and friends who supported our graduates along the way and encouraged them when they needed it.”

In 1970, 30 percent of the nation's construction was performed merit shop and six of the top 400 construction firms were ABC members. Today, merit shops accounts for more than 80 percent of all construction across the country, and ABC's membership has grown to include more than half of the top 400 construction companies in the United States.

ABC San Diego’s program has been awarded Accredited Training Sponsor Status from the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER), assuring all its members of nationally recognized training for their craft professionals. NCCER is a nonprofit education foundation created to develop standardized construction, maintenance, and pipeline curricula with portable credentials and help address the critical skilled workforce shortage. NCCER is affiliated with the University of Florida's M.E. Rinker, Sr. School of Building Construction.

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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