Doug Haase and Amelia Kelsay, members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 16 in Portland, are two of only 12 detailers in the United States and Canada to qualify as finalists in the detailing category of the 40th annual International Sheet Metal Competition, slated March 5-9 in Las Vegas.
The competition is hosted by the International Training Institute (ITI), the education arm of the unionized sheet metal and air conditioning industry.
The Sheet Metal Institute, which is the training center for Local 16, was the only one to produce more than one of the 12 detailers in the competition, and Kelsay is the first and only woman to make it into the top 12.
A sheet metal detailer designs complicated, behind-the-walls systems of buildings which the public hardly ever sees. To get to the finals, detailers completed a two-and-a-half-day test, and were ranked based on their scores. The finalists represent different parts of the United States, including Hawaii. Joining Haase and Kelsay in Las Vegas is Jaymes Fleming of Western Washington Sheet Metal Workers Local 66 in Everett, Wash.
This is only the second year that the detailing category has been open to both apprentices and journeymen. Haase is an 18-year member of Local 16, and Kelsay joined the union in 2004.
“I am proud to represent our local and compete with some of the best detailers,” Haase said. “The detailing certification test is a very good test — I bet this will be harder.”
Kelsay is looking at the experience as a chance to watch and learn. Although she has yet to find full-time work, she is a part-time instructor at the Sheet Metal Institute in Portland.
ITI’s Benchmark building information modeling software is one of the tools detailers use to make sure that every length of HVAC ductwork and each fitting is built to exact measurements and standards.
“The Benchmark certification has provided me the education and knowledge to take the next step in my career goal of becoming a full-time union detailer,” Kelsay said. “I am going into this competition without any expectations. Any success or jobs that may come from this would be icing on the cake.”
In addition to the detailing category, apprentices will compete in five sheet metal disciplines, including HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning), industrial/welding, service, architectural and TAB (Test Adjust Balance in heating and air conditioning).
The competition will take place at Caesars Palace. It is held in conjunction with the 2012 Partners in Progress Conference, which is hosted by a partnership between the Sheet Metal Workers Union and the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA).
A reception and awards banquet will take place the evening of March 9.
The winner of the detailing category will take home a new Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
[Photos by Ritchie Belleque.]