PHCC Announces 2021 National Apprentice Contest Winners

The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association’s Educational Foundation announces the winners of the national plumbing and HVAC apprentice contests. The contests were held in October in Kansas City, Missouri on the tradeshow floor during the PHCC—National Association’s CONNECT 2021 event. A total of sixteen plumbing and seven HVAC apprentices from across the nation took part in the contests.

Plumbing Contest Chair Jim Steinle, Plumbing Contest Winner Garrett Boylan and Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall.

Plumbing apprentice contest winners

  • First place: Garrett Boylan, from Wolff’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc. in Spearfish, South Dakota. He was sponsored by RIDGID.
  • Second place: Aaron Hilgendorf from Reece Heating, Cooling & Plumbing in Marion, Iowa. He was sponsored by Rheem.
  • Third place: James Allen from Century Mechanical in Fort Worth, Texas. He was sponsored by the Copper Development Association.

HVAC Contest Committee Chair Chip Greene, HVAC Contest Winner Karin Dahlin and PHCC Educational Foundation Chair Kevin Tindall.

HVAC apprentice contest winners

  • First Place: Karin Dahlin, from Minneapolis Pipefitters local 539 and working at Northland Mechanical in New Hope, Minnesota. She was sponsored by the PHCC National Auxiliary.
  • Second place: Sydney Titcomb, from Shapiro & Duncan in Rockville, Maryland. He was sponsored by Rheem.
  • Third Place: Seth Hartman, from Wolff’s Plumbing & Heating, Inc. in Spearfish, South Dakota. He was sponsored by Emerson.

The plumbing apprentices were required rough-in a bathroom system. The set-up includes a toilet, sink and shower, complete with supply, waste and vent lines, plus cleanouts and extra features designed to test the contestants’ knowledge and skills. The test set-up includes a variety of pipe materials – cast iron, copper, PVC and PEX and corresponding joining methods.

The HVAC competitors were required to complete a written test, demonstrate proper brazing techniques and perform a hands-on diagnostic on an HVAC package unit, with system errors created by the Foundation’s contractor volunteers for the competition. The competitors also had to perform a pressure and leak test, demonstrate proper refrigerant recovery procedures and the ability to accurately take a variety of instrument readings.

A dedicated team of contractor volunteers arrived two days before the competitions to assemble the competitor test benches, distribute the materials and supplies and set up the testing areas. They monitor the competitions, evaluate the apprentices’ work and provide constructive feedback on each competitor’s performance following the event.

The contests are made possible by the generous support of several industry sponsors that provide monetary support and in-kind material and tool donations. Sponsors for the 2021 competitions include AB&I Foundry; A.O. Smith; Bradford White Corp.; Copeland; Copper Development Association; Delta Faucet Co.; Emerson Climate Technologies; the International Code Council, Kohler Company; Legend Valve; Milwaukee Tool; Moen; North American Technician Excellence; NIBCO INC.; Oatey; PHCC-National Auxiliary, Rheem; RIDGID; State Water Heaters; Tyler Pipe & Coupling and Zoeller Pump Company.

Milwaukee Tool made a major contribution to the Apprentice Contests again this year by donating most of the tools needed by the contestants for the competition. This gift allowed the competitors to skip the trouble of shipping their own tools and to go home with a new set of tools to power their work long after the competition ends.