Plumbing apprentices competing at PHCC CONNECT 2021.

PHCC Announces 2021 National Apprentice Contest Winners

Oct. 28, 2021
A total of sixteen plumbing and seven HVAC apprentices from across the nation took part in the contests.

Above, plumbing apprentices preparing to compete at PHCC CONNECT 2021.

FALLS CHURCH, VA – The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association’s (PHCC) Educational Foundation is proud to announce the winners of the national plumbing and HVAC apprentice contests. The contests were held October 21st & 22nd in Kansas City, MO, on the tradeshow floor during the PHCC—National Association’s CONNECT 2021 event. A total of sixteen plumbing and seven HVAC apprentices from across the nation took part in the contests.

Plumbing Apprentice Contest Winners

  • First place: Garrett Boylan, from Wolff’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc. in Spearfish, South Dakota. He was sponsored by RIDGID.
  • Second place: Aaron Hilgendorf from Reece Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Marion, Iowa. He was sponsored by Rheem.
  • Third place: James Allen from Century Mechanical in Fort Worth, Texas. He was sponsored by the Copper Development Association.

HVAC Apprentice Contest Winners

  • First Place: Karin Dahlin, from Minneapolis Pipefitters local 539 and working at Northland Mechanical in New Hope, Minnesota. She was sponsored by the PHCC National Auxiliary.
  • Second place: Sydney Titcomb, from Shapiro & Duncan in Rockville, Maryland. He was sponsored by Rheem.
  • Third Place: Seth Hartman, from Wolff’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc. in Spearfish, South Dakota. He was sponsored by Emerson.
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, PVC and PEX, 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 setup the testing areas. Volunteers 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. Sponsors for the 2021 competitions include, with headline sponsors appearing in bold: AB&I Foundry; A.O. Smith; Bradford White Corp.; Copeland; Copper Development Association; Delta Faucet Co.; Emerson Climate Technologies;  the International Code Council, Kohler Company; Legend Valve; Milwaukee Tool; Moen; North American Technician Excellence (NATE); NIBCO INC.; Oatey; PHCC-National Auxiliary, Rheem; RIDGID; State Water Heaters; Tyler Pipe & Coupling; and Zoeller Pump Company.

Milwaukee Tool made a major contribution to the Apprentice Contests again this year by donating most of the tools needed by the contestants for the competition. This gift allowed the competitors to skip the trouble of shipping their own tools and to go home with a new set of tools to power their work long after the competition ends.

“It is incredible what this team of volunteers, sponsors and staff can pull together for these contests. Even with supply disruptions and other challenges of getting all the contest materials here, everything was ready to go for the apprentices when they arrived,” said Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall. “The contests are a huge part of CONNECT and a special moment for the apprentices competing. Having our first ever female winner of the HVAC contest made this year even more special. My congratulations to everyone involved for creating a great experience for the apprentices as we returned to an in-person event this year.”

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