Western States Electrical Contest 332 Competitor Matt Baptista

From age 17 to 26, I was a carpenter, framing homes from the ground up. Electricians would come in, they’d be quick, and I’d clean their mess up when they’d leave. I thought, “I want to do that.” It was the right choice for me.

I’ve been with 332 for five and a half years now. I turned out about five months ago and am working for Blocka Construction. We’re doing a fire alarm retrofit on a water treatment plant. There are 13 buildings ranging anywhere from EMT to rigid pipe to PVC jacketed rigid conduit, in hazardous locations and office spaces. We’re under budget and ahead of schedule, so I can’t complain about that. The best thing about being a 332 member is the camaraderie. If you excel, you’re set in your career, and you never have to worry about a paycheck.

In the apprentice contest, everyone comes in not knowing what to expect. You don’t know what you’re going to do until you get here, so you can’t practice a whole lot. You don’t know the specific ways the bends are going, how the logic works in the motor control circuit or what devices will be associated with it, or what materials will be in the material identification. I feel like I could have made improvements. I wanted to be the quickest, and I got that, but I made mistakes. I probably could have slowed down and done a little better. You’ve just got to be the best you can and learn as much as possible.

I brought the whole family to the contest. It’s totally accepted, and we all live around here, so why not bring them in to enjoy the festivities as well? My kids are two and four. We go camping often; we’ve got a camper on the back of the truck. I also go mountain biking in the hills of Santa Cruz where I live.

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