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Electrical apprentice students showcase their in-demand skills in competition hosted by ABC Western Michigan, GRCC

Jan. 20, 2023, GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Wade Wiltenburg, a Grand Rapids Community College student in an apprenticeship program, earned top honors in the Electrical Craft Competition, an annual event with the Associated Builders and Contractors Western Michigan and GRCC.

The annual event highlights the achievements of the men and women who represent the future of the electrical trades in commercial construction.

Wiltenburg, who works with Buist Electric, was awarded first place. Second place went to Mitch Meines, who also works with Buist Electric, and third place went to Sean Gibbons, who works with Feyen Zylstra.

"ABC Western Michigan's Electrical Craft Competition provides today's electrical apprentices the perfect avenue to showcase their exemplary craftsmanship and commitment to excellence," said Greg George, president of ABC Western Michigan.

"This competition demonstrates the immense potential for success in the construction industry, and confirms that the future of electrical work is in great hands."

All contestants are fourth-year apprentices enrolled in the GRCC Workforce Training Electrical Program and are current employees of ABC-member companies.

The competition includes a written exam measuring industry knowledge followed by the hands-on portion, installing an electrical service under tight time constraints.

Apprentices earn credit at GRCC while working for a participating employer.

Judges from top electrical firms graded contestants on safety, layout, compliance, appearance, and quality of workmanship.

Each year, the first-place winner at the chapter level goes on to compete at the Associated Builders and Contractors National Craft Championships during the ABC National Convention in March.

“GRCC loves supporting this competition because we get to see our students advance in their careers after they have finished our program,” GRCC Job Training professor Doug Wiersma said.

Other competitors were Brent Engelsma, of Kleyn Electric; David Losch, of Feyen Zylstr; and Nick Hilts, of Windemuller.

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