In front of a sold-out crowd of more than 41,000 people, the 2015 National Craft Champions 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 and freedom.
Before the game, the National Craft Champions 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 picnic 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, their companies and their NCC gold medals during the pre-game ceremony. The champions in attendance included:
- Carpentry gold medalist, Mark Rineer, Wohlsen Construction Company, Lancaster, Pa.;
- Electrical gold medalist, Jesse Babington, Watson Electrical Construction Co. LLC, Wilson, N.C.;
- Fire Sprinkler gold medalist, Jordan Bretey, Rapid Fire Protection, Rapid City, S.D.;
- HVAC gold medalist, Ty Balmer, W.C. Eshenaur and Son, Inc., Harrisburg, Pa.
- Insulation gold medalist, Mark Koch, G.E. Insulation, Sanford, Mich.;
- Millwright gold medalist, Chad Bemis, Cianbro, Pittsfield, Maine;
- Pipefitting gold medalist, Jeremy Fisher, T.I.C. – The Industrial Company, Steamboat Springs, Colo.; and
- Welding gold medalist, Brandon Moore, Jacobs, La Porte, Texas.
Following the pre-game ceremony, Jesse Babington threw the first pitch to Nationals’ infielder, Emmanuel Burriss. The national anthem was sung by Hope Klessig, daughter of ABC executive committee member Steve Klessig. Chad Bemis delivered the lineup card to the umpires at home plate. Lastly, Mark Koch kicked off the game by making the “play ball” announcement before the first inning.
The game ended in a 2-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. 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.
The 2016 National Craft Champions will be invited to be recognized at Nationals’ stadium during a game next year. Interested in sending your best apprentices and trainees to the National Craft Championships? The event will take place March 1-4, 2016. To apply, please submit an intent-to-compete form by Dec. 1 and register by Jan. 8, 2016. Learn more at nationalcraftchampionships.org.