By Staff Writer, PHCC Educational Foundation
Foundation staff Angela Collins, Merry Beth Hall and Maureen Vasquez recount their experiences this year at SkillsUSA National Championships.
Sunday, June 24th
We’ve arrived in Louisville, KY! This is where our staff team and a small army of volunteers will spend our week setting up and running the SkillsUSA National Plumbing Competition at the Kentucky Exposition Center. We started by assembling the benches where the contestants will be working to rough-in a plumbing system. Members of the SkillsUSA Courtesy Corps gave us a hand. Next up, unpacking our many, many crates of supplies.
Monday, June 25th
Today is when we sort and distribute all the materials that 50 contestants will need to run supply lines and rough-in a water closet, a lavatory, washer box and a floor drain. We use thousands of feet of copper, PVC and cast iron pipe! Each contestant gets a fantastic goody bag too. Our team also checks in on the HVAC competition, where we have a PHCC member assisting on the event.
Tuesday, June 26th
It is a race to complete our set-up this morning. Orientation for the contestants is this afternoon. This is where they learn how the contest will happen and how work will be judged. For many of these young students, this is their first trip away from their home state. And here they are, at this massive national event with 6,500 other students competing in 102 competitions and with over 16,000 people total onsite. It is incredible!
Wednesday, June 27th
This morning we hopped on buses to take us for a tour of the Zoeller Pump Company manufacturing facility. Thanks Zoeller for the tour and lunch!
Now it’s go time – the competition starts at 2 pm and runs until 5 tonight. The competitors get to work and you can see the concentration as they plan out their strategy to win.
Thursday, June 28th
The competition continues. The students have just five hours left to finish their work. A few wrap up early and have time to recheck their connections and fix any errors before their system is pressure tested.
Judging the student’s work is a team of experienced plumbers who are looking for accuracy in installation, craftsmanship, proper selection and use of tools & supplies and safety.
After a post-contest debriefing, the students help tear down the benches and pack materials away. A local PHCC contractor, Senninger Plumbing Co., handles the scrap and the volunteers focus on getting everything ready to ship before leaving for the night.
At the same time, staff is tabulating scores from the judges and double checking our math. These scores must be calculated and ready to report to SkillsUSA personnel the next morning. The competitors will learn who won tomorrow at the Awards Ceremony.
Friday, June 29th
For us, it’s time to head home. It’s been a long week, but very fulfilling. Another 100 plumbing and HVAC students had a once-in-a-lifetime experience competing at a national level event that promotes excellence in our trades. Those students and their families will help to spread the word of the value of choosing a career in our profession. So goodbye to Louisville and a huge thank you to all our volunteers and sponsors for this event!
2018 SkillsUSA Plumbing Championships Headline Sponsors
AB&I Foundry, American Supply Association, A.O. Smith, Bradford White, Copper Development Association, Kohler, Tyler Pipe and Coupling, Viega and Zoeller.
Staff Writer , PHCC Educational Foundation