For Immediate Release
Contact: Nick Novak, 608-244-5883
nnovak@abcwi.org

[Madison, Wisc…] On Friday, May 13, 2016 Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Wisconsin held its annual Graduation Banquet at the Kalahari Resort in Wisconsin Dells.

The class of 2016 boasts 120 graduates, representing 12 trades, including: Carpentry, Concrete Finisher, Construction Craft Laborer, Electrical, Electronic Systems Technician, Heavy Equipment Operator, HVAC, Heat & Frost Insulating, Plumbing, Roofing, Steam Fitting and Sprinkler Fitting.

The keynote speaker of the night, Michael Schumacher from Valders Stone and Marble, Inc., gave an inspiring speech to the graduates.

“Sometimes, people ask me; ‘who is your role model?’ ‘who do you look up to?’ I don’t know if I really ever considered them role models, I always referred to them as a mentor. I’ve had lots of great mentors over the years, and I encourage you to get out there and find some of your own. Find people in your industry, but don’t be afraid to find people totally unrelated to what you do. Get together socially and work to make yourself more rounded as a professional.”

Towards the end of his speech Schumacher concluded by saying, “Always remain humble and hungry. Be a lifelong learner and share your knowledge freely to help build others. Be a mentor when you can, and be intentional about finding one for yourself. Use your manners – say thank you, make eye contact and smile a lot. Know your weaknesses, but focus on your strengths. Take risks and make mistakes – there’s no better learning opportunity. Have fun and don't take yourself too seriously. Above all, whatever it is that you decide to do with your life – work hard to be your very best.”

Each year, an award is given to the craft professional, instructor and apprentice who have displayed the highest level of commitment to apprenticeship training. The following individuals were awarded:

2016 ABC of Wisconsin Craft Professional of the Year:
Scott Smith from Faith Technologies, Inc.
2016 ABC of Wisconsin Instructor of the Year: Greg Phillips, Electrical Instructor at Blackhawk Technical College
2016 ABC of Wisconsin Apprentice of the Year: Charles Vine, Carpentry Apprentice from Northcentral Construction Corporation going to school at Moraine Park Technical College.

Apprentices are trained through a combination of on-the-job-training and classroom instruction. Depending on trade, apprenticeship programs are 3, 4, or 5 years.

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Associated Builders and Contractors is a national trade association, representing more than 21,000 merit shop contractors, subcontractors, material suppliers, manufacturers and construction-related professionals. With more than 800 members, the Wisconsin chapter is the largest in the country.