A record 130 apprentices compete in Plumbers & Fitters Local 290 skills contest

Fourth term HVAC/R tech apprentice Lance Walker works at an alignment station.
Third-term plumber apprentice Keegan Anneker was introduced to the union trade his senior year at Crestwell High School, where he attended a career fair in 2015. It took him a year to get in to the program, but now, at age 21, he’s earning $24.66 an hour on his check, in addition to health insurance and a pension. When he turns out as a journeyman in two more years he’ll make $44.84 an hour, plus $30.09 an hour in fringe benefits.

Plumbers and Fitters Local 290 held an apprenticeship contest April 7-8 at its training center in Tualatin. A record 130 apprentices — ranging from second to 10th term — used their learned skills to complete projects from blueprints. Competition was timed and judged for quality. Sixty Local 290 volunteers helped run the contest.

Steamfitter apprentice  Ashley Haysom competes in welding contest.

Competition was held in four disciplines — plumbing, steamfitting/pipefitting/sprinkler fitting, welding, and heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC/R), said Apprenticeship Coordinator Bob DeGraw.

“Like all the trades, men and women compete equally in all the disciplines,” said DeGraw.

The top finisher in each discipline advances to the Western Regional Apprentice Contest this June in Denver, Colorado. There, they will go up against top apprentices from locals in 10 western states. Top placers in Denver qualify for the national contest held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, later this summer.

Top finishers at UA Local 290 were:

  • PLUMBER: 1. Kevin Kuborn; 2. Grant Caswell;  3. Amanda Brook
  • STEAMFITTER: 1. Dale Christensen; 2. Levi Gillis; 3. Jeff Hennessy
  • WELDER: 1. Kyle Zanger; 2. Tyler Wittwer; 3. Kevin Hawk
  • HVAC/R: 1. Dylan Webb; 2. Kurt Beagley; 3. Rob Maslen
Apprentices compete in tube-bending portion of contest under the watchful eye of apprenticeship coordinator Bob DeGraw.

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