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

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Top Construction Apprentices Win San Diego Craft Championship

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

(Poway, Calif.) – San Diego’s top apprentices in three craft professions won first place honors in their individual crafts at the 16th annual Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) San Diego Craft Championship Competition. The champions handled the pressure, with an audience of several hundred looking on, and beat out a field of 17 seasoned apprentices and craft trainees. The event took place at the Training Trust Academy in Poway on Saturday, December 3. Winners in three categories - electrical, plumbing and sheet metal - will represent San Diego in the 2017 ABC National Craft Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in March. All three winners are East County residents.

Left to right: Rolf Wachter, Eli Anderson, Scott Vorarach

Scott Vorarach of Spring Valley won in the Sheet Metal category for 2016. Vorarach placed second last year, and is the second straight winner from Certified Air Conditioning in San Diego. Daniel Fortini of Ramona placed second. He works for Alpha Mechanical.

The 2016 Plumbing champion is Rolf Wachter of Jamul, with Interpipe Contracting. Wachter finished third last year. Second place went to Tuan Mai of Poway, working for Alpha Mechanical.

In the Electrical competition, Eli Anderson of La Mesa won. He works for Bergelectric. Samuel Martin of El Cajon placed second, and Sheridan Farris of Oceanside placed third. Martin and Farris both work for Rowan Electric.

See video of the competition here.

The Craft Championship competition provides a platform showcasing the high-quality ABC San Diego Training Academy program. It puts an emphasis on the important role craft skills training plays in construction by evaluating contestants’ technical knowledge of their craft as well as their skill and talent.

Training Academy Executive Director Shandon Harbour said, “It takes courage and commitment to step up and compete in this event. Participating apprentices put in extra study and practice time outside of their job assignments and classes for the competition. On the day of the event, they work in front of an audience, racing the clock to get their projects done. This demonstrates their dedication to their training and their craft."

Signing on to participate in the competition is a significant commitment for the apprentices and trainees involved. Contestants must first successfully complete hundreds of hours of classroom training and thousands of hours of practical field experience to be eligible to compete. If competitors score high enough on a written exam during the first stage of competition, they move to the skills portion of the competition to determine the San Diego area champions. Project scores and written test scores are combined to determine the winner.

The competitors must race against the clock to complete a project as close to the specifications provided as possible. They may only use materials they are provided. Judges who are experts in each craft field including previous national competition medal winners score each project.

ABC San Diego thanks its 2016 sponsors: Dewalt Tools, Klein Tools, Ridgid Tools, Home Depot, Rexel USA, Helix Electric, Rowan Electric, Pacific Rim Mechanical, and Bergelectric for bringing its lunch truck to the event.

Participating vendors include OneSource Distributors, Wattstopper, Ideal Industries, San Diego Lighting Association, Dewalt Tools, Klein Tools, and Milwaukee Tools.

About ABC San Diego

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national trade association representing nearly 22,000 merit shop contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers and construction-related professionals in 70 chapters across the United States. The association’s membership includes all specialties within the industry, and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors of construction. ABC is recognized as one of the leading organizations representing America’s business community and the construction industry. Visit ABC San Diego at

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

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