In front of a nearly sold-out crowd of more than 41,000 people, the 2018 National Craft Champions and the Craft Professional of the Year stood on the Washington Nationals field July 3 and were honored for their hard work as trained craftsmen. The crowd cheered them on while the ABC logo spread across the stadium, showcasing the theme of the night—free enterprise.

Before the game, these ABC guests of honor and their families loaded onto an ABC-branded bus that took them to Nationals Park where they were given all-access passes to the field and were able to watch batting practice. ABC also hosted a gathering in the stadium for the champions, their families and local ABC members.

As spectators filed into the stadium, the champions stood on the field while their names were announced over the speaker, recognizing them and their companies during the pre-game ceremony. Rising to the top of a field of more than 170 craft trainees competing in 15 craft competitions, these outstanding craft trainees aspire to the highest possible expression of excellence in construction. The world-class champions and craft professionals in attendance included:

Devon Ayotte, millwright/industrial maintenance mechanic, from Cianbro, Maine;
Roy Bolton, power line worker, from Cianbro, Maine;
Matthew Bryan, pipefitting, from MIELKE Holdings LLC, Ohio; 
David Anthony Carlton Jr., electrical residential-commercial, from Watson Electrical Construction, North Carolina;
Bryant Hamilton Coffey, fire sprinkler, from Piper Fire Protection, Florida;
Scott Cornell, structural welding, from Cianbro, Maine;
Daniel Fortini, sheet metal, from Alpha Mechanical Inc., California;
Javier Garcia, insulation, from Starcon International, Illinois;
Michael Jensen, HVAC, from Camblin Mechanical Inc., Iowa; 
Jacob Moody, carpentry residential-commercial, from Kraemer Brothers, Wisconsin;
Logan Stephenson, instrumentation fitting, Triad Electric & Controls, Louisiana;
Jared Valence, pipe welding, Pala-Interstate, Louisiana;
Jacob Vitek, electrical commercial-industrial, from Hirsch Electric LLC, Maryland; and
Richard Brown, 2018 Craft Professional of the Year, Gaylor Electric Inc., Indiana.

Following the pre-game ceremony, Javier Garcia threw the first pitch to Nationals’ infielder, Emmanuel Burriss. Bryant Hamilton Coffee delivered the lineup card to the umpires at home plate. Lastly, Matthew Bryan kicked off the game by making the “play ball” announcement before the first inning.

Following the game, the big screen displayed an ABC-branded clock which began the countdown to the night’s Freedom Fireworks while a one-of-a-kind video highlighted the nation’s construction career opportunities.

Photos are available on ABC National's Flickr page.

The 2019 National Craft Champions, Craft Professional of the Year and Craft Instructor of the Year will be invited to be recognized at Nationals’ stadium during a game next year.