ABC's 2017 National Craft Championships gold medalists, Craft Instructor of the Year and Craft Professional of the Year were honored before an audience of more than 41,000 at a July 3 Major League Baseball game at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. As spectators filed into the stadium, the champions were recognized on the field for their achievements during the pre-game ceremony.


Honorees included:
  • Jose Chavez, Starcon International, insulation competition gold medalist
  • Jonathan Christenberry, Gaylor Electric Inc., electrical - commercial/industrial competition gold medalist
  • Joel Dutton, TD Industries, pipefitting competition gold medalist
  • Wade Fuller, Bill Rhiner’s Plumbing, plumbing competition gold medalist
  • Brandyn Kendall, Cianbro, pipe welding competition gold medalist
  • Andrew Lensink, De Troye Electric Service, HVAC competition gold medalist
  • Joseph Smith, Pritt Electric, electrical - residential/commercial competition gold medalist 
  • Roger Thompson, Jesse Stutts Inc., Craft Instructor of the Year
  • Adam Ruff, Price Electric, Craft Professional of the Year
The champions were congratulated on the field by U.S Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, ABC National Chairman Chuck Goodrich and ABC Chair-elect George Nash. A video highlighting the National Craft Champions was also shown on the big screen before the game started.

The National Craft Championships helps to raise the profile of careers in construction and highlight the $1.1 billion that ABC member companies spend annually on workforce development. The ABC Freedom Fireworks event comes at a pivotal time for the American workforce as the Trump administration acts to expand apprenticeship opportunities and workforce development strategies required to fill nearly a half million jobs that are currently open in the construction industry. ABC recently launched a new workforce development website, workforce.abc.org. The site features information on training and education, career paths, safety and diversity programs and workforce development programs ABC manages around the country. 

In 2015, ABC began a partnership with the Washington Nationals to educate the general public, influential legislators and regulators on the merit shop philosophy and importance of safety, quality and workforce development. Print adsradio spots, and digital signage were created to showcase the core values held by ABC and its members, raise visibility for the construction industry and promote a positive image of careers in construction to young people, their families and veterans. 

The creative materials are available to ABC chapters to use in their local communities and can be accessed on National Connections or by contacting Sandy Lynch

Following the pre-game ceremony, Wade Fuller threw out the first pitch while Brandyn Kendall delivered the line-up card to the umpires at home plate. Then Jose Chavez kicked off the game by making the “play ball” announcement before the first inning. 

The game ended in a 3-2 win over the New York Mets. Following the game, the big screen displayed an ABC-branded clock which began the countdown to the night’s Freedom Fireworks.