Merit Shop Shines During Competition
Third year Southeast Michigan Construction Academy (SEMCA) student Gabe Roberts of Deere Electric represented ABC SEMI at the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Craft Championship in Kissimmee, FL this year. Although he did not place in the top 3 among the other 175 participants, he came away better from having the experience of competing against the best craft apprentices from across the country.
“It really was a chance for all of us to demonstrate our construction knowledge, superior skills, and safe work practices,” said Roberts. “What made this entire experience even more meaningful is that my company and family came down to be a part of this amazing opportunity and cheer me on. I am proud to represent SEMCA here and it is something I will never forget.”
Pat and Tom Deere, owners and operators of Deere Electric in Tecumseh, MI, brought Roberts’ family and their entire team of employees down to be their guests in Kissimmee, FL to see Roberts compete for national honors. It was a promise they made to him before he even competed locally for the Southeastern Michigan Chapter crown.
“We told Gabe if he won the local Craft Championship that we would bring everyone down to see him compete at the National competition in Florida,” said Pat Deere. “I think he thought we were joking. But this was a real milestone and something as a company we were immensely proud of—we are a small electrical contractor, and our team are like family. There was no way we could let him come down here and represent us without all of us being a part of it.”
The Deere’s rented a home near the competition to accommodate all the members of their company and the Roberts family. Spending time together in a more relaxed setting gave them the opportunity to enjoy some well-deserved vacation time while cheering their fellow co-worker on.
“We all work very hard in our jobs,” said Pat Deere. “We are there when those emergency calls, power outages and heat waves affect our customers. Our team never waivers in providing the best for our clients, this was a chance for us to show our appreciation for not only Gabe’s hard work in school, but our employees’ commitment to our company—our family.”
According to SEMCA director of education, Marissa Downs, these National Craft Champions represent the future of the construction industry and highlight the career opportunities that construction can provide. Roberts competed for top honors in the constantly growing field of construction professionals. The competition required an intense two-hour exam, as well as a six-hour, hands-on, practical performance test.
“The ABC Craft Championship is an outstanding platform to showcase how rewarding a career in construction can be,” said Downs. “The Craft Championships are a great opportunity for us to attract the next generation of merit shop craft professionals.”
Established in 1987, the National Craft Championships celebrates and recognizes upskilling in construction, draws some of the country’s most talented craft professionals, and highlights the important role that craft skills training plays in the construction industry.
“It is an honor to compete at the National ABC Craft Championships,” said Roberts. “We trained hard for this competition. As a company, to have my bosses come down and support me and my family the way they did was amazing. This is an experience I will never forget.”
ABC offers more than 800 education programs across 68 chapters to help train the next generation of construction workers. Its flexible, affordable craft and safety training leads to industry-recognized, national credentials for today’s most sought-after construction positions. ABC is committed to showing the promising career path the industry provides, from apprenticeship to journey-level worker to business owner.