Nathan Potratz of Pickett, a fourth-year carpentry apprenticeship student at Moraine Park Technical College, earned a second-place silver medal in the carpentry competition at the 22nd annual Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Craft Championships held in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Potratz earned a berth at the national competition when in January he placed first in the ABC of Wisconsin Inc. State Skill Competition.
“It was just an awesome experience,” said Potratz. “At nationals you're competing against the best from other states and it's interesting to see how they perform. The apprentices from other states all talk very highly of Wisconsin. They know the state to beat is Wisconsin, so you really have a big bull’s-eye on your back when you come in there.” Twelve of Moraine Park Carpentry Instructor Jerry Schwengels’ apprentices have placed first, second or third in the national championships.
Potratz is employed by J.J. Geffers Construction, Inc. in Oshkosh. “Nate is an exceptional employee,” said Jason Geffers. “His God-given abilities far exceed him in his years. It is great to see his determination and perseverance pay off in the recognition he so much deserves. I am blessed to have Nate as an employee and friend.”
The carpentry competition project consisted of five tasks:
- Construct a structural metal stud wall frame with wood double-top plates.
- Construct a non-structural metal stud angled wall frame with a window rough opening and drywall.
- Construct a hip roof frame on the structural metal and walls and butting against the angled wall.
- Construct a curved form for an opening in a round concrete tank.
- Set up a builder’s level and take a number of readings.
“Competing in the ABC competition allows you to use a whole bunch of skills you may not use otherwise,” said Potratz. “It's funny because you think you know it all and then you get to these competitions and you do some things you've heard about but never experienced. It really humbles you and you realize that you are still learning.”
His instructor at Moraine Park, Jerry Schwengels, said, “Nate did an outstanding job on the competition. He is a very skilled craftsman as well as an efficient worker. Nate was the first to finish the competition, more than an hour ahead of the next competitor."
Potratz graduated from Laconia High School and is originally from the Lamartine area, where his family still resides.
For more information about programs and apprenticeships at Moraine Park’s Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses, visit www.morainepark.edu.