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

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ABCSD Hosts SkillsUSA Plumbing Competition

(San Diego, Calif.) – Ten of Southern California’s top plumbing students at the high school and post-secondary level put their skills to the test under the eye of Associated Builders and Contractors San Diego (ABCSD) during the recent 48th annual SkillsUSA State Leadership and Skills Conference at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center.

The SkillsUSA Championships is the showcase for the best career and technical students in the nation. The philosophy of the Championships is to reward students for excellence, to involve industry in directly evaluating student performance and to keep training relevant to employers’ needs.

Contests begin locally and continue through the state and national levels. The national competition, held later this year in Louisville, Kentucky, is a multi-million dollar event that occupies a space equivalent to 16 football fields. In 2014, there were nearly 6,000 contestants in 98 separate events. Nearly 1,500 judges and contest organizers from labor and management make the national event possible.

Above: ABC San Diego members Rick Thorpe and Dan Baldwin advise a Skills USA competitor during the State Plumbing Competition in San Diego.

Each competition involves both written exams and practical project work. In the Plumbing category, contestants “rough-in” hot and cold water lines with copper tubing and “rough-in” sanitary drainage, waste and vent lines with cast iron and PVC plastic for a water closet, a lavatory, a washer box and a floor drain. Water pipes are pressure tested on completed projects. Professionals judge the contestants on the basis of accuracy, workmanship, proper selection and use of tools and supplies, and proper safety procedures.

ABC members Rick Thorpe with Engineered Mechanical Services who also serves as chairman of the Training Trust Plumbing and Pipefitting Committee, and Daniel Baldwin, recent Apprenticeship Training Academy Graduate with Interpipe Contracting, served as the competition judges for the competition.

“Our judges Rick and Dan did a fantastic job with the competitors, taking time to discuss their project and answer any questions,” said Tracey Barrett, Director of Education for the ABC Apprenticeship Training Academy. “Although it takes a significant investment of time by our members and our staff, we believe strongly in providing these competitive opportunities which give aspiring craft professionals the chance to put their skills to the test. It allows them to work toward a goal in the same way they will work toward goals as professionals on major construction project in the future.”

About SkillsUSA

SkillsUSA is a national organization serving teachers and high school and college students who are preparing for careers in technical, skilled and service occupations. SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry representatives working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. SkillsUSA was formerly known as VICA (the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America). SkillsUSA serves more than 300,000 students and instructors annually. The organization has 13,000 school chapters in 54 state and territorial associations.

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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