State ABC competition showcases talents of Moraine Park apprentices

by speitz21. February 2012 10:51

Benvenuto heading to Nationals in April

Construction apprentices from around the state gathered to demonstrate their knowledge and craft skills at the recent 2012 ABC of Wisconsin Construction Skill Competition held in Wisconsin Dells. Apprentices were able to compete in their area of study, including plumbing, carpentry, HVAC, electrical and sheet metal.

Tyler Benvenuto of West Bend took first place in the electrical contest. Benvenuto is an electrical apprentice student at Moraine Park Technical College and is employed at Gillitzer Electric Services, Inc., out of West Bend.

“Tyler's been an interesting person to have in class,” said Mike Gradinjan, Tyler’s electrical instructor at Moraine Park. “I'm really into the theory — understanding what electricity is and how it behaves, and then applying that to the mechanics and various codes we deal with. Watching Tyler put that together is a joy. I'll see members of his class watching him as he works through something in his mind and then respond with an answer that's right more often than not.”

The competitors were rated on skill, workmanship, safety and efficiency. The written, safety and practical scores were then combined to determine the top three competitors in each trade. Because Benvenuto is a first place winner, he will go on to compete at the ABC National Craft Championships in San Antonio, Texas, this April.

“The ABC skills competition was a great experience, and I am really looking forward to the national competition in Texas,” said Benvenuto. “I have a great base of knowledge thanks to the apprenticeship program at Moraine Park. I hope that this, combined with the wide range of on-the-job training I have received, will help me succeed in the national competition.”

“Being a construction electrician has components that are a little like factory work, where you do the exact same thing the exact same way every day,” said Gradinjan. “The great part of the job is that you encounter different circumstances and obstacles in varying environments all the time. This is what the Skills Olympics are designed to assess, and it's little wonder Tyler will be representing ABC Wisconsin in San Antonio.”

Moraine Park had a second place finish in carpentry from Phil Heffner of Fond du Lac, an apprentice student employed at Northcentral Construction Corporation out of Fond du Lac. Other apprentice students who participated include Jason Krieger of Mayville, John Leister of West Bend, Cory Prachel of Princeton, and Jason Wiedmeyer of West Bend.

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