Contact: Jeff Leieritz (202) 905-2104             
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                                                                For Immediate Release
March 10, 2015

Washington, D.C. – Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) announced the winners of its National Craft Championships and named its Craft Instructor of the Year and Craft Professional of the Year during the Careers in Construction awards ceremony in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The ceremony took place March 6 at the conclusion of ABC’s Workforce Development Conference.

Holley Thomas of Double Springs, Ala., pipe general foreman at KBR, was named Craft Professional of the Year. Jonathan Sacks of Palmyra, Maine, transmission and distribution training manager at CIANBRO, was awarded Craft Instructor of the Year. Gold, silver and bronze medalists were named in 15 National Craft Championships competitions. In addition, safety awards were presented to one competitor in each craft for their best-in-class safety practices.

“These winners’ dedication to high-quality craftsmanship, training and safety showcase the very best the construction industry has to offer, and ABC is thrilled to honor them,” said 2015 ABC National Chair Pamela Volm, president of Annapolis Contracting, Inc., Annapolis, Md. “Holley, Jonathan and today’s National Craft Championships winners are the future of the construction industry, and ABC is grateful to have them represent our commitment to helping develop another generation of skilled workers.”

Each year, ABC presents the Craft Professional of the Year award to a construction craft professional who excels in his or her field while also demonstrating a commitment to safety, training and the merit shop philosophy. The recipient of this national award represents the best craftsmanship, effort and talent the merit shop has to offer.

The Craft Instructor of the Year award is presented each year to an instructor who possesses outstanding creativity, a positive attitude, and the ability to transfer knowledge through good communication skills and innovative teaching to promote lifelong learning to the future workforce. The recipient of this national award represents ABC's and ABC member companies’ deep commitment to training America’s future skilled workforce.

The National Craft Championships featured a field of nearly 200 craft professionals competing for top honors in 15 competitions across 12 crafts, including a new team competition with journey-level craft professionals from five different crafts working to complete a joint project. Competitors first took an intense, two-hour written exam and then competed in daylong hands-on practical performance tests in: carpentry, electrical-industrial, electrical-residential, fire sprinkler, HVAC, instrumentation fitting, insulation, millwright, pipefitting, plumbing, sheet metal, welding-pipe, welding-structural and masonry.

A list of the winners is available on ABC’s website.

The National Craft Championships competition was developed in 1987 to help celebrate and recognize craft training in construction careers. This year, ABC partnered with the Florida Masonry Apprentice and Educational Foundation to hold the first masonry competition at the National Craft Championships, as well as presented a new, interactive fall protection demonstration in the exhibit hall. Each year, the competition draws some of the nation’s most talented craft professionals and highlights the important role that craft skills training plays in the construction industry. The National Craft Championships Committee, which is composed of leading merit shop construction firms, plans all year for the two-day competition.