The Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association’s (PHCC) Educational Foundation announced the winners of the national plumbing and HVAC apprentice contests.

The contests were held Oct. 10-11 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the trade show floor during PHCC’s CONNECT 2018 event. A total of 19 plumbing and 10 HVAC apprentices from across the nation took part in the contests.


HVAC Apprentice Contest Winners

  • 1stJosiah Tiegs, McDowall Comfort Management in Waite Park, Minnesota, sponsored by Brasscraft Mfg. Co.
  • 2ndDaniel Deneve, GSM Services in Gastonia, North Carolina, sponsored by NIBCO.
  • 3rdJeffrey Deuel, American Mechanical Services in Denver, sponsored by Milwaukee Tool.


Plumbing Apprentice Contest Winners

  • 1stJames Houser, Local 27 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, sponsored by A. O. Smith Corp.
  • 2ndKyle Mao, Lange Plumbing in Las Vegas, sponsored by AB&I Foundry.
  • 3rdSteven Kroope, Deluxe Plumbing & Heating in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, sponsored by Reed Mfg.

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 demonstrate the ability to accurately take a variety of instrument readings.

The plumbing apprentices were required rough-in a bathroom system. The setup 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, PEX, and corresponding joining methods.

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 who provide monetary support and in-kind material and tool donations. Sponsors for the 2018 competition include AB&I Foundry, A. O. Smith Corp., Bradford White Corp., Brasscraft Mfg. Co., the Copper Development Association, Daikin, Delta Faucet Co., Emerson, Fluke, IPS Corp., Kohler Co., Mechanical Hub, Milwaukee Tool, NATE, NIBCO, Oatey, Reed Mfg. Co., RIDGID, State Water Heaters; Tyler Pipe & Coupling, Uponor, Viega, and Zoeller Pump Co.

 Milwaukee Tool made a major contribution to the Plumbing Apprentice Contest this year by donating 20 of their M18 Force Logic Press Tools and jaw kits, with a retail value exceeding $60,000. This gift allowed the competitors to gain experience and prove their skills in making press connections during the plumbing competition; the tools will be used in future competitions as well.

“These contests are an incredible demonstration of the opportunities that exist because of the Foundation,” Foundation Chair Craig Lewis says. “You have these amazing apprentices from all over the country coming here to show off their skills. The sponsors are so generous with their support. And then our volunteer committee members and staff are pulling it all together in a new exhibit hall every year. It really is quite a thing to see and I’m very proud everyone involved with these competitions.”