GF Piping Systems recently supported the United Association (UA) International Apprenticeship Competition held Aug. 8-14, at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI, by donating time, materials and welding equipment. The yearly contest is held during the UA’s Instructor Training Program for apprentices who undergo an intensive one-week session of troubleshooting, rigging, bending, cutting, leveling, welding and brazing. The continuing education program allows participants to refine and expand their skills in one of five areas of expertise – sprinkler fitting, pipe fitting, welding, plumbing, and HVAC servicing. This year marked the 3rd consecutive year of the program following its resurgence after a 30 year hiatus, and is conducted by the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada.
GF Piping Systems contributed to the success of two of the contests with technical training expertise along with the necessary materials and pipe joining equipment. In the first contest, finalists worked with GF Piping’s PROGEF (polypropylene) pipe, valves and fittings and the IR Welding Machine. Pictured are national finalists who worked with a four-sided pipe assembly and were challenged to join various materials together in different configurations to make them work. To achieve this, the contestants had to correctly measure and install all the pieces into a complex piping arrangement within the confined parameters. In a second contest, GF Piping Systems contributed its Fuseal (corrosive waste piping system) pipe and fittings with the MSA250 Electrofusion Machine. In this situation, contestants plumbed a GF Piping Systems cup sink to a neutralization tank.
“It was very gratifying to see the skill of these young tradesmen at their craft,” said Kevin Klaum, GF Piping’s area sales manager who provided hands-on training during the event. “With tradesmen from all around the country as well as Canada, it was interesting to discuss the diversity of codes and materials in different areas.”
According to Pete Marzec, National Chairman of the UA’s International Apprenticeship Program, “manufacturers like GF Piping Systems are very forthcoming in helping the program. We ask them to provide their latest technology and products, technical expertise, develop a competitive project that the contestants can work on, and act as one of the judges,” he explains. “If the apprentice hasn’t yet been exposed to the technology, the manufacturer’s representative quickly gives them instruction.”