Roofers Local 2 hosts inaugural National Apprenticeship Competition


FIRST-YEAR APPRENTICES (from left) Francisco Orozco (1st Place), Local 11, Oak Brook, Ill.; Zach Delo (2nd Place), Local 242, Mineral Wells, W. Va. and Samreth Khong (3rd Place), Local 153, Tacoma, Wash., demonstrate their skills in the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Trades inaugural National Apprenticeship Competition May 6-9 at Roofers Local 2’s training center in Maryland Heights, Mo. – Labor Tribune photos

Maryland Heights, MO – First-, second- and third-year roofing apprentices from across the country traveled to St. Louis May 6-9 to compete for cash prizes and tools in the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Trades inaugural National Apprenticeship Competition hosted at Roofers Local 2’s training center here.

The apprentices, who had already won their qualifying regional competitions, proved their skills using various roofing and waterproofing materials, each going home with cash prizes.

“This is our first national competition,” said Jeff Eppenstein, director of marketing for the international union. “These kids are all from different locals but they all had to win in their classification in those regional competitions to qualify to be here. These kids were the first place winners in the qualifier competitions.”

A total of nine apprentices – three in each category – competed in written and skills testing.

Local 2, with its state-of-the-art training center, was the logical place for the competition.

“We’re the oldest local in the country,” said Local 2 Business Manager Denny Marshall. “So they wanted to have their first time ever national apprentice competition here. We have regional competitions, but this is the first national competition where all the regions have come together for a top competition.

“We’re happy to host it for the first time ever. It’s a good thing, I think, for everybody. It builds comradery on the jobs. We’re hoping that it builds that competitive edge for these apprentices, where they want to be better at their career and compete and see themselves on the center stage one day,” Marshall said.

One of the judges, Billy Heiss, of Elevate Roofing Systems and Lining, of Nashville, Tenn., said the Roofers’ apprenticeship program is a far cry from what it was when he entered the roofing business 28 years ago.

“What they’re doing here is awesome. I went through the apprenticeship program in the early ‘90s, and it was nothing compared to this.

“This is 100 times the scale of what we did,” Heiss said. “We did our apprenticeship on the roof getting yelled at by old roofers. If you didn’t have a thick skin and you weren’t a hard worker, you weren’t around very long.”

Mitchell Terhaar, international secretary-treasurer of the United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers & Allied Workers, said the idea for the competition started with union President James A. Hadel.

“It’s basically to get our apprenticeship program and apprentices to improve the program and take it to a new level,” Terhaar said. “We’re hoping to highlight our program and to send a message to our contractors that there’s value in our program.”

He said it’s also motivating for apprentices.

“When they see the prize money back home, it’s an incentive,” he said.

“Maybe someday, when we get all the bugs out of this, we can take it to our international trade show and do it there. Right now, we take a truck and trailer out to Las Vegas and it draws a lot of interest.”

Cash prizes were awarded for first, second and third place in each apprentice category as follows:

  • First place $6,000.
  • Second place $4,000.
  • Third place $2,000.

The winning apprentices in each category were as follows:

Level One/1st Year Apprentices

  • 1st Place Francisco Orozco, Local 11 (Oak Brook, Ill.)
  • 2nd Place Zach Delo, Local 242 (Mineral Wells, W. Va.)
  • 3rd Place Samreth Khong, Local 153 (Tacoma, Wash.)

Level Two/2nd Year Apprentices

  • 1st Place Ryan Hartigan, Local 11 (Oak Brook, Ill.)
  • 2nd Place Jeremiah Johnson, Local 242 (Mineral Wells, W. Va.)
  • 3rd Place Rafael Tellez-Lozano, Local 153 (Tacoma, Wash.)

Level Three/3rd Year Apprentices

  • 1st Place  Dylan Butler, Local 49 (Portland, Ore.)
  • 2nd Place Cole Crocker, Local 96 (Ham Lake, Minn.)
  • 3rd Place Josh Brackman, Local 37 (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top