It wasn’t quite the wire-to-wire finish that Cody Hilliard hoped for, but in the end the third-year Youngstown Area Electrical JATC apprentice finished in the top-32 in a national tradesman skills competition in Florida hosted by Ideal Industries.
“We’re very proud of Cody for representing us so professionally at the Ideal National Championships, and he was well-prepared to take on any of the tasks” said Ed Emerick, YJATC training director. “He sets a high standard among his peers with his character and work ethic, and he had quite the fan club back home rooting him on.”
Hilliard was among more than 25,000 tradesmen who entered the competition, and among 64 to make the nationals in the Apprentice division.
In the preliminary round, which narrowed the field in half, Hilliard set a blistering pace in a task that involved wiring boxes into a receptacle and powering light fixture and fan switches. He easily made it to the next round by ranking 5th out of 64.
The next round was a head-to-head, single-elimination format, and included a task of cutting an old work box into a dry-walled wall, and fishing wire to it to hook up to a receptacle. Hilliard’s time was 40-seconds faster than his competitor, but some judge’s deductions allowed the competitor to inch past him.
Were they “controversial” judging deductions, he was asked.
“Well …” Hilliard said, grinning; not wanting to start a controversy. Nit-picky might be a better word (if he would have said it).
Nonetheless, Hilliard enjoyed his time in Florida and looks forward to competing again next year.
“The people who put on the competition were very friendly and put on a first-class event all the way around,” he said. “I had a lot of fun, and it was definitely worthwhile to go down there.”
Hilliard is currently working with “Joe” Dickey Electric on major renovations to the Central YMCA in Youngstown.