PHCC Educational Foundation Congratulates 2023 National Apprentice Contest Winners

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Falls Church, Va. — The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association’s (PHCC) Educational Foundation announced the winners of the national plumbing and HVAC apprentice contests. The contests were held October 25th & 26th in Cleveland on the tradeshow floor during the PHCC—National Association’s CONNECT 2023 event. A total of twenty-one plumbing and eleven HVAC apprentices from across the nation took part in the contests.

HVAC Apprentice Contest Winners

  • First place: Jacob Lee of P1 Service in Lenexa, Kansas. He was sponsored by RIDGID.
  • Second place: AJ Posivak of Deluxe Plumbing & Heating in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He was sponsored by Milwaukee Tool.
  • Third place: Raulie Rojas of Midwestern Mechanical in Rapid City, South Dakota. He was sponsored by RIDGID.

L to R – HVAC Contest Committee Chair Chip Greene, PHCC Educational Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall, HVAC Contest Winners Raulie Rojas (Third Place), AJ Posivak (Second Place), Jacob Lee (First Place).

 Plumbing Apprentice Contest Winners

  • First Place: Cody McDonald of Van Contracting, Inc. in Columbia City, Indiana He was sponsored by the International Code Council.
  • Second place: Nick Vasknetz of Local 525 in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was sponsored by Home Depot Pro.
  • Third Place: Joseph Hardin of Local 333 in Lansing, Michigan. He was sponsored by Bradford White.

L to R – Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall, Plumbing Contest Co-Chairs Larry Shoemaker and Victor Hatcher, Plumbing Contest Winners Cody McDonald (First Place), Nick Vasknetz (Second Place), and Joseph Hardin (Third Place).

The plumbing apprentices were required rough-in a bathroom system. The set-up includes a toilet, sink and shower, complete with supply, waste and vent lines, plus cleanouts and extra features designed to test the contestants’ knowledge and skills. The test set-up includes a variety of pipe materials – cast iron, copper and PVC and corresponding joining methods.

The HVAC competitors were required to complete a written test, demonstrate proper brazing techniques and perform a hands-on diagnostic on an HVAC package unit, with system errors created by the Foundation’s contractor volunteers for the competition. The competitors also had to perform a pressure and leak test, demonstrate proper refrigerant recovery procedures and the ability to accurately take a variety of instrument readings.

A dedicated team of contractor volunteers arrived two days before the competitions to assemble the competitor test benches, distribute the materials and supplies and set up the testing areas. They monitor the competitions, evaluate the apprentices’ work and provide constructive feedback on each competitor’s performance following the event.

The contests are made possible by the generous support of several industry sponsors who provide monetary support and in-kind material and tool donations.

“I am proud of the Foundation volunteers and staff who pull these contests together,” said Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall. “These are complicated events between getting the apprentices here and then having all the materials, tools, equipment, volunteers and judges ready to go – and all in a different city each year. It is amazing to see it all come together to create a great experience for the apprentices who are competing.”