ABC of Wisconsin commercial construction team earns gold at National Craft Championships

ABC team receiving award at national craft championships
The commercial team received a gold medal in team-commercial contest in the National Craft Championships competition.


ORLANDO, Florida – Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin announced several employees of its member companies earned awards at the 34th annual National Craft Championships (NCC) during ABC Convention 2023 in Orlando, Florida, March 15-17.

Charlie Earle of Milestone Plumbing Inc., Matt McGrath of Sure-Fire Inc., Eric Munz of PDC Electrical Contractors/A-1 Electric, and Tyler Odegard of Royal Construction, Inc., took the gold award in the competition’s team-commercial contest. The team members didn’t know each other until the week of the competition. The four craft journey-level professionals worked as a team to complete a series of craft-specific tasks focused on electrical, plumbing, sheet metal/HVAC and carpentry in a six-hour period.

“It was so awesome to meet such a great group of guys. We all immediately got along really well,” said Charlie Earle of Milestone Plumbing Inc. “We were able to work like we’ve all worked together for years after only meeting for the first time the day before the competition. It was a super enjoyable experience and I felt proud of the work we accomplished. I was nervous during the awards ceremony but was relieved to hear we won. The news took a couple hours to finally sink in.”

The NCC showcased the skills and expertise of nearly 200 of the nation’s top-performing craft professionals, including carpenters, electricians, pipefitters, plumbers, welders and more, all vying for top honors in 16 competitions with skills on display in 12 crafts. NCC also featured a team competition with journey-level craft professionals from different crafts working to complete a joint project. The competition included a two-hour online exam and a six-hour practical performance test.

group of ABC members on stage with award
Hayden Oestreich received the silver award in the competition’s residential-commercial electrical contest in the National Craft Championships competition.

In addition to the team competition, Wisconsin was represented in the NCC competition by Hayden Oestreich of Lyons Electric in the residential-commercial electrical division, Alex Rodriguez Vazquez of Dave Jones, Inc. in the plumbing division, and Ali Gordee of Northcentral Construction Corp., in the carpentry division.

Hayden Oestreich, an electrical apprentice for Lyons Electric, took the silver award in the competition’s residential and commercial electrical contest. Oestreich had advanced to the NCC after receiving the top score in electrical during ABC of Wisconsin’s Skill Competition on Jan. 27 in West Bend.

ABC worker with gold award at national craft championship
Ali Gordee received the safety award in the competition’s carpentry contest in the National Craft Championships competition.

Ali Gordee, a carpentry apprentice for Northcentral Construction Corp., received the safety award in the competition’s carpentry contest. Gordee is only the second female from ABC of Wisconsin to compete at the NCC. Gordee had advanced to the NCC after receiving the top score in carpentry during ABC of Wisconsin’s Skills Competition on Jan. 27 in West Bend.

» RELATED: Photos from the National Craft Championships and Awards Ceremony

“ABC’s premier skilled trades competition showcases the best construction craft professionals in the industry,” said 2023 National Chair of the ABC Board of Directors Milton Graugnard, executive vice president, Cajun Industries LLC, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. “These individuals brighten the future of the merit shop industry, build America stronger and highlight the countless career opportunities available in construction. From Texas to California and Iowa to Massachusetts and all across this great country, these craft professionals traveled to Florida to demonstrate their superior skills, education and safe work practices.”

Established in 1987, the National Craft Championships celebrate and recognize upskilling in construction, draw some of the country’s most talented craft professionals and highlight the important role that craft skills training plays in the construction industry.

Construction Management Competition

Meanwhile, a team of undergraduate students from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville and the University of Wisconsin-Stout competed in ABC’s annual Construction Management Competition (CMC).

College and university teams from around the country were assigned the same construction management project to complete over two days in a competition designed to challenge knowledge, organization, time management and presentation skills, giving the nation’s top construction management students a glimpse into the real world of construction.

The members of the UW- Platteville team were Jon Beyer, Michael Dzierzynski, Colton Ervin, Evan Meyers, Logan Niesen, and Zachary Wynstra.

The members of the UW-Stout team were Nolan Berry, Derek Millard, Jeremy O’Connor, Edgar Rodriguez-Landaverde, and Chris Zimdahl.

All CMC participants are active members of the ABC National Student Chapter Network, which connects local ABC chapters to colleges and universities with construction management programs to work toward the ultimate goal of building the talent pipeline and mentoring future leaders in the construction industry.

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