By CARL GREEN
Edwardsville – The Southwestern Illinois Joint Apprentice Training Committee is sending another group of journeyman wireman graduates out into the industry.
This year, the JATC graduated six journeymen – Jeff DalPozo, Adam Hovenga, Andrew Hovenga, Derek Meskill, Shaun Stewart and Joshua Stewart.
JATC is co-sponsored by IBEW Local 309 and the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).
The graduates celebrated with their wives, girlfriends, instructors and union leaders at a raucous dinner party at Sunset Hills Country Club on July 17. The message they were given was to stay active in both the industry and the union.
‘YOU ARE THE FUTURE’
“You are the future of the electrical industry,” said Chris Weir, assistant business manager for Local 309. “I encourage you to stay involved, become a foreman, become a job steward, become a JATC instructor, become a project manager, become a trustee on a committee, become an officer of the local, start your own company, or become a business manager. The possibilities are endless.
“Just remember that it is your responsibility to train the next apprentices,” he added. “The most important thing I can tell you is to work smart and work safe and, most of all, to come home safely to your family every night.”
Weir also singled out the supporting players at home.
“I would like to thank all the significant others of our graduates,” he said. “While they were at school doing homework, you were at home taking care of everything else.”
Ian Andrews, representing the NECA contractors group, complimented JATC Training Director David Kokotovich and instructors Chris Huckins and Tom Hansen.
“You guys do a great job. You’ve built an elite program in the state of Illinois, the region and the nation,” Andrews said. “There’s really nothing else you can compare it to in the area.”
To the graduates, he added: “Get involved with your union, get involved with your contractor, get to know the entire industry. We’re all in this together, and I’m looking forward to the future with you.”
Tim Evans, business manager for Local 309, said he was proud of the graduates for completing the tough, five-year program.
“Our guys are trained,” he said. “That’s something I’m very proud of. It really has to do with our staff of instructors, who do such a great job.
“There are times I come in in the morning and I see their dedication,” he added. “They’re there when I show up and there when I’m leaving. It’s just an unbelievable amount of time and effort that they put in to make each and every one of our guys the best-trained.”
Each of the graduates was awarded a screwdriver set and tape measure from Milwaukee Tools, which has also donated many tools to the JATC training facility in Collinsville.
Said Kokotovich: “Milwaukee is supporting us; support them too.”