Moraine Park carpentry apprentices sweep Skill Competition

by admin3. February 2008 19:00

Three Moraine Park Technical College carpentry apprentices swept the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Skill Competition’s carpentry contest, taking first through third place in the state event that was held at Park Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Oshkosh on Jan. 18.

 ABC Skill Competition carpentry winner Nate Potratz is shown with Moraine Park instructor Jerry Schwengels and carpentry apprentice Nick Gassner, who came in second.

Nathan Potratz of Fond du Lac, a fourth-year apprentice employed at J.J. Geffers Construction, Inc. in Oshkosh, placed first in the carpentry competition and will head to the ABC National Craft Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 5-9, where he will represent ABC of Wisconsin in the national carpentry event. At the nationals, young men and women compete in one of 14 competitions, representing 13 trades.


Potratz came in third place in the state competition in 2007. “Competing in last year’s competition definitely helped me this year,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going to the national competition to see how other carpenters throughout the country perform.”


“Nate is a very strong competitor, an excellent test writer and a very skilled craftsman,” said Jerry Schwengels, Moraine Park carpentry instructor. “We’ve continued our string of MPTC carpenters going to nationals; this year is the ninth year in a row.”

 Moraine Park carpentry instructor Jerry Schwengels and apprentice Scott Poklasny, who took third place at the ABC Skill Competition.

Taking second place was Nick Gassner of Campbellsport, also a fourth-year carpentry apprentice, who is employed by Northcentral Construction Corp. in Fond du Lac. Third place went to Scott Poklasny of Hartford, a third-year apprentice who works for Ollman Construction Corp. in Jackson.


Potratz, Gassner and Poklasny are in the ABC Carpentry Apprenticeship program at Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus.


Thirty-five apprentices from throughout the state participated in the ABC Skill Competition to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and sheet metal, undergoing a two-hour written exam and a four-hour practical, hands-on project. Moraine Park plumbing apprentice Paul Laudolff of Appleton placed third in the plumbing competition. He is employed by J.D. Ogden Plumbing & Heating, Inc. of Neenah.


Other Moraine Park apprentices who competed at state this year were Michael Frier of Waldo, Richard Gehrke of Omro and Allen Snyder of Fond du Lac, carpentry; and Anthony Kaufmann of Cleveland and Ryan Will of Fond du Lac, electrical.


For more information about Moraine Park’s apprenticeship programs, visit