ETASV Electrical Skills Tournament

Tournament Winner: Jesus Gomez-Garcia

The ETASV and IBEW Local 332 held the very first electrical skills tournament on March 9. Like the regional contest, this spring’s tournament at the ETASV included events in residential wiring, written exam, motor controls written, motor control hands-on material identification, 1/2” pipe bending, and 3/4” pipe bending.

Fifth-year inside wireman apprentice Jesus Gomez-Garcia scored the highest overall at the competition and will represent Local 332 at the Western States Regional Apprentice Contest in the fall.

“I signed up for the contest because it was a good challenge,” he said. “I saw a couple of guys in my class volunteer, it got me interested, so I signed up.”

To prepare for the tournament, the training center had instructors available to work one-on-one with contestants instead of or in addition to going to regular classes.

“The first week I only dropped in one day; then I noticed how big a challenge it was, so I was going in three or four days a week. They had an instructor there every day, but we were also giving each other tips and passing along knowledge among apprentices. It was fun seeing how everyone has their own method.

“My favorite event was the motor controls. It’s something that’s always interested me since I started in the trades. What I had the most difficulty in was the first pipe-bending event. I was trying to rush through it and didn’t take time to properly measure out my 3-point saddle on a 1/2” conduit. When it came to the 3/4” inch conduit, I went slower and took my measurements.”

Jesus plans to spend more time practicing over the summer ahead of the regional contest. “It was great fun. I enjoyed going in every day, getting different input from the instructors and other apprentices. I’d advise anyone that has even a little interest to do it. It’s a great way to learn.”

ETASV Skills Tournament Winners

ETASV Skills Tournament

Residential Competitor: Martin Fernandez

One competitor in the tournament stood out, even though he didn’t place. While all the other contestants were fifth-year inside apprentices, Martin Fernandez is a third-year residential apprentice – but he competed anyway.

“I thought it would be a good challenge to put myself out there. I feel like everybody in residential is planning on heading to inside, so I thought it would be good to see what I’m getting myself into,” said Martin, who also plans to go for the inside apprenticeship after he turns out of residential.

“It was about a month of prep. The school gave us all the resources we needed. I was coming in five days a week, and they’d always let me get into a lab or get a one-on-one with an instructor. We had a pretty good idea of what we were going to do – not too specific, but enough to be able to study.

“I think I did pretty well on the residential wiring. I enjoyed the motor controls hands-on lab the most. I just like that kind of work; the process of it. It’s pretty satisfying getting to understand it and translate what you see on paper onto the motor control board.

“The motors written test was probably the most challenging for me. I didn’t really know where to start. After that would probably be the pipe bending, because in residential we don’t get a chance to work with pipe bending at all.”

Martin would encourage other residential apprentices to compete next time. “Take as much time as you can when it comes to practicing and studying. When it comes to the actual contest, don’t worry about the time; just make sure you’re doing everything correctly. It doesn’t matter how fast you do it as long as you do it correctly.”

As far as Martin’s future plans, he’s excited to keep learning. “The competition really opened my eyes that there’s so many different avenues you can take on the inside program. It’s exciting to know there’s still a lot to learn, and the learning never stops.”

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