The members of the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors — National Association (PHCC) Educational Foundation’s Plumbing Apprentice and Journeyman Training (AJT) Committee are known for their problem-solving abilities. Their most recent feat? Successfully conducting the first in-person national SkillsUSA plumbing competition since 2019 at a new facility in a new host city. AJT Committee members serve on the SkillsUSA Plumbing Technical Committee and are responsible for setting up and running the contest and for assisting with judging.

The competition took place during the annual SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference, held June 22-23 in Atlanta. This was the first year for the event in Atlanta having outgrown its previous home in Louisville, Kentucky. The SkillsUSA Championships is the nation’s largest hands-on workforce development event for middle school, high school and college/post-secondary students enrolled in career and technical education programs. More than 5,200 students competed in 108 contests. The PHCC Educational Foundation partners with SkillsUSA to sponsor the plumbing contest each year. The Foundation also supports the HVACR Contest.

Six plumbing students received top honors in the plumbing competition. Plumbing Contest winners were:

  • First Place Secondary – Tyler James, Four County Career Center, Archbold, Ohio;
  • First Place Post-Secondary – Christopher Hayes, Pinellas Technical College, St. Petersburg, Florida;
  • Second Place Secondary – Nicholas Jordan Jacob, Smith Vocational & Agricultural High School, Northhampton, Massachusetts;
  • Second Place Post-Secondary – Brady Kroll, North Dakota State College of Science, Wahpeton, North Dakota;
  • Third Place Secondary – Tyler Cyr, Smithville High School, Smithville, Texas; and
  • Third Place Post-Secondary – Chris Martinez, Texas State Tech College, Waco, Texas.

“The PHCC Educational Foundation is dedicated to improving the industry by helping students in the plumbing, heating and cooling fields reach their full potential. The SkillsUSA Championships are an outstanding example of the professionalism that results when industry is joined with education,” said PHCC Educational Foundation COO Cindy Sheridan.

PHCC Technical committee members for this year’s event included:

  • Robert Hahn, chair, Eastwick College, HoHoKus School of Trades in Union, New Jersey (plumbing);
  • Dale Powell, project manager, PHCC Educational Foundation, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania (plumbing);
  • Bob Carpenter, Viega, Broomfield, Colorado (plumbing);
  • Danny Crigler, III, L & D Coates Inc., Aroda, Virginia (plumbing);
  • Laurie Crigler, Aroda, Virginia (plumbing);
  • Roman Grier, Viega, Broomfield, Colorado (plumbing);
  • Victor Hatcher, Tyler Pipe and Coupling, Tyler, Texas (plumbing);
  • Warren Lupson, Lupson Assoc., Silver Spring, Maryland (HVACR);
  • Harold Moret, Copper Development Association, McLean, Virginia (plumbing);
  • Larry Shoemaker, Deluxe Plumbing & Heating, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (plumbing);
  • Jeff Voss, Jeff’s Plumbing and Repair, Boone, North Carolina (plumbing);
  • Jamie Simpson, Schaal Heating & Cooling, Des Moines, Iowa (HVACR); and
  • James Walls, Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute, Garland, Texas (plumbing).

The plumbing competition was made possible by the following generous industry sponsors: AB&I Foundry; Bradford White; Copper Development Association; Tyler Pipe and Coupling; Rheem; and Zoeller Pump Co..

Additional prizes, materials and on-site support provided by: AB&I Foundry; BrassCraft Manufacturing Co.; Cast Iron Soil Pipe Institute; Charlotte Pipe & Foundry; Copper Development Association; Milwaukee Tool Co.; Miller Mechanical, LLC; Oatey; PHCC Educational Foundation; Sioux Chief Manufacturing; Toto, Tyler Pipe & Coupling; and UA Local 72 in Atlanta.

SkillsUSA-6.gifPHCC member and SkillsUSA judge Larry Shoemaker from Deluxe Plumbing and Heating in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, talks with contestants.


Additionally, high school students got a chance to hone their brazing skills and learn more about careers in numerous industries including plumbing and HVACR during the SkillsUSA competition. 

 The competitions for each industry included a series of testing stations to assess skills. For the brazing competition, professionals from The Harris Products Group demonstrated proper brazing techniques, reviewed safety lessons and tested students on their skills. Students were given one hour to complete a closed-loop system of copper-to-copper and copper-to-steel connections while nitrogen purging. Harris tested their connections with a pressure/leak test.

SkillsUSA_Harris-2.gifTimothy Reading of The Harris Products Group instructs a student on brazing skills.

The overall first, second and third place winners in each category were awarded cash and product prizes.

The Harris Products Group, a Lincoln Electric company, designs and manufactures cutting, welding, brazing, and soldering equipment, consumables and gas distribution systems. The Harris Products Group products are sold and used in more than 90 countries. For more information about the Harris Products Group and its products and services, visit

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. A nonprofit national education association, SkillsUSA serves middle-school, high-school and college/postsecondary students preparing for careers in trade, technical and skilled service occupations.