Out of more than 32,000 electricians who competed in qualifying rounds across the U.S. and 142 final competitors for the fifth annual Ideal National Championship, Anthony Kovalchick from Wilmington, NC, was crowned champion, winning the grand prize of $60,000 while Michael Zurenda from Binghamton, NY, took the top spot in the student/apprentice competition, winning $40,000.
This year’s National Championship, held in Nashville, TN, on Dec. 17 featured a new addition, the Pro-Am team challenge, where one professional and one student/apprentice could compete together. Team “Risky Business,” consisting of team members Will Barnett and Christopher Brieschke from Elgin, Ill. won this year’s Pro-Am challenge and were awarded $40,000 and $5,000 in IDEALCash.
Throughout the 2021 Ideal National Championship, competitors demonstrated their skills in four rounds of intense challenges, including a commercial pull box prep and install, a commercial panel install, a three-way switch install and an entire panel change-out. Family and friends of the participants filled the arena to watch the adrenaline-pumping events of the week and to cheer on the competitors.
Ideal Electrical established the competition in 2016 to highlight the professional trades as a rewarding, in-demand career path and showcase the skills of electricians that are vital to our country now more than ever. Congress recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act), a trillion-dollar deal to boost infrastructure across the U.S. at a time of a significant labor shortage.
“We are in the wake of an increasing skilled labor shortage across the U.S. but it is more imperative than ever that we attract more men and women to the electrical industry to meet the swiftly increased rise in demand,” said Carmen Cardillo, general manager, IDEAL Electrical U.S. and Mexico, in the press release. “The Ideal National Championship is one of many initiatives designed by IDEAL to attract young talent to the skilled trades and the strong community that makes up the industry, and highlight just how hands-on, mentally-challenging and rewarding a career path it can be.”
This year, Ideal partnered with electrical distributors, retailers like Lowe’s, trade schools, the Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and others to host qualifying events across the United States.
The 2021 Ideal National Championship Finals Week was sponsored in part by Rivet Work Inc. – a resource that helps the trade connect crews, jobs and skills. After recently securing an additional $2 million in seed funding a year after raising its initial $600,000 in a pre-seed round, Rivet Work is partnering with Ideal’s electrical division, aiming to improve the way contractors, electricians, unions and trade schools deploy, manage and communicate around human resources.
Sponsors for the 2021 Idea National Championship also include 7-Eleven, Cerrowire, Duluth Trading Company, Little Giant Ladder Systems, Legrand, Minerallac, Orbit Industries, Inc., ServiceTitan, Siemens, Trades Nation and Ivry Technologies.
For more information on the IDEAL National Championship, click here.