Year Four Electrical Student Claims Victory at Craft Championship

It’s November 11, 2023 – Harbaugh was just suspended, Michigan was gearing up to play Penn. State and the MSU Spartans took a trip to Columbus. But that doesn’t hold a candle to the students who spent that day competing in SEMCA’s 2023 Regional Craft Championship.
Each year, level three and four students are given a written exam at school to gauge their knowledge of the field. The 10 highest scoring students then test their skills in the field with a practical, hands-on application. This grueling eight-hour competition can test the limits of students but makes the victory that much more rewarding.
Event manager and SEMCA instructor John Danic mentioned that this year’s competition was updated from the last few years to include more modern features such as dimmable LED lights and occupancy controls.
“Boy these changes did not slow down our competitors one bit,” said Danic. “We still had five guys finish, which is incredibly high, and our judges needed extra time to deliberate. It was a close competition and I have full faith being represented in the Southeast Michigan Construction Academy at the National Craft Championship in Florida.”
The winner this year was Mario Al-Ton, a level four student who works as a foreman at Phenomena Electrical Services. Al-Ton’s dad and uncles are electricians, and he was going to take it one step further and study electrical engineering. After a few classes, Al-Ton wanted a job that let him work with his hands more, so he switched paths and came to SEMCA.
“I came in today prepared to just do my best. I had no expectations,” Al-Ton said. “My plan was to pace myself, take the time to read and understand the blueprints, and then work to get it done. I got into this groove and it all came together. When I heard I was the winner, it made me proud of my decision to come here and pursue being an electrician.”
Al-Ton was cheered on by his two brothers from the crowd that day and was congratulated by all at the award ceremony afterwards. During his closing remarks, Keith Ledbetter, the president and CEO for ABC and SEMCA was dazzled by the competitors’ abilities.
“I’ve been a part of ABC and SEMCA for some time, and each year I am astounded by the excellence displayed in our shop for this competition,” Ledbetter said. “These students understand hard work and embody the kind of spirit we promote here at SEMCA. I can’t wait to see what we’ll be doing 10 years from now with where we’re at today.”
We ask the ABC SEMI community to wish the runner up, Eric Shock well as he heads to Florida in March to compete in ABC National’s Craft Championship.