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26 graduate from Barr Construction Institute

New journeymen needed to fill shoes of retiring tradesmen

August 12, 2010|By HEATHER KEELS
  • Radames Taveras, left, graduate of the Associated Builders and Contractors' Barr Construction Institute in Hagerstown, received his State of Maryland Certificate of Completion and Apprenticeship in Electrical from Brian Faith, right, an ABC-BCI Electrical II Instructor Thursday night at Hagerstown Hotel and Convention Center.
Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

After four years of practicing their trades by day and studying them by night, 26 carpentry, electrical, HVAC, plumbing and sheet metal students graduated Thursday from apprenticeship training programs at the Associated Builders and Contractors' Barr Construction Institute in Hagerstown.

"They have been working during the time that they've been going to school, but this is really the beginning of their careers," institute president Joan L. Warner said. "Before, they were apprentices. Now, they are actual journeypersons, and that means they're skilled mechanics in their trade."

The students received their certificates as well as gifts of tools during a banquet at Hagerstown Hotel and Convention Center.

Students said the classes, which lasted three hours two nights a week, were a big commitment on top of their jobs and, in some cases, families.

"It's been kind of rough, you know, going to work and coming to school in the evening, but it's something I'm glad I did," said Timothy Nutwell, who studied plumbing and pipefitting. "I feel like I accomplished something."

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Jason Shriner, an electrician and father who commuted to classes from Martinsburg, W.Va., said he was glad to be finished with his apprenticeship, and his fianc, Jennie Tomcho, agreed.

"I'm proud of him," she said.

Blaine Mowen, an electrical instructor at the school, said the curriculum begins with introductory theory -- "the basics of electricity and the basics on some of the practical aspects" -- and builds up to things like calculating circuit loads, dissecting motors and building increasing familiarity with electrical codes.

"They can walk in the door and have no experience, go through school, and by the time they finish they're a journeyman-level electrician," Mowen said.

Mowen, who teaches first-year students, said he is often impressed to see where the training takes his students.

"A lot of them just take off," he said. "One jumped right into safety manager at one of the construction sites."

Warner said journeyperson status opened a lot of doors for the students in their careers.

"If a contractor is going to promote within a company, they're the ones they're going to promote, normally, into the estimators and foremen and supervisors," she said.

BCI education director Bob Simmers said that despite the slow economy, now is a good time to study construction trades because many of the journeymen tradesmen are nearing retirement age.

"Once the economy starts to bounce back, these people will be ready to fill their shoes," Simmers said.

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The 2010 ABC-Barr Construction Institute graduates are:

o Carpentry:

Greg Wagaman, GRC General Contractor Inc.

o Electrical:

Cory Barr, MC Dean Inc.; Roger Bushby, JS Electric; Jason Fritz, Tissa Enterprises Inc.; Ola Gregory III, RCD Inc. Electrical Services; Brandon Griffith, Tissa Enterprises Inc.; Ryan Hartley; Dan Kimble, MC Dean Inc.; Timothy Lowery, Electrical General Corp.; Matthew Manspeaker, Ellsworth Electric Inc.; Travis Noyes, Noyes Electrical Services; Allan Platou, Spartan Electric; David Rosario, Baltimore Gas & Electric; Jason Shriner, LDH Electrical Contractors; Radames Taveras, Ellsworth Electric Inc.

o HVAC:

Jacob Young, R W Warner Inc.

o Plumbing:

Joshua Boyce, Heiligs Plumbing, Heating & Electrical LLC; Gerald "Ed" Gank, Heiligs Plumbing, Heating & Electrical LLC; Caleb George, Tyler Mechanical Contracting Inc.; Ryan Lignelli, Tyler Mechanical Contracting Inc.; Donald Mayle; Tim Nutwell, James Craft & Sons; Jeremy Robinson, JS International; Jamie Routzahn, Tyler Mechanical Contracting Inc.; Robert Sharpless, AD Naylor Inc.

o Sheet Metal:

James McCormick, Air Row Sheet Metal Co. Inc.

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