First-Ever International Competition at 2019 IDEAL® National Championship

By Paige Robinson

Electricians from the U.S., Canada, China and Australia Compete for Title of ‘World’s Best Electrician’ and their Share of Over $600,000 in Cash and Prizes

(Taken from einnews.com)

/EIN News/ -- SYCAMORE, Ill., Nov. 21, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- IDEAL® Electrical concluded its fourth annual IDEAL National Championship by crowning the first-ever International Champion on November 9 at Disney’s® Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Tom Matic from Melbourne, Australia took home the title of ‘World’s Best Electrician’ and a brand new RAM® 1500 Pickup Truck after competing against professional electricians from the U.S., Canada and China in an intense hour-long competition that required the competitors to complete four challenges – one  reflecting each country’s unique electrical installation methods.

The inaugural international competition took place following three days of competition including Professional, Student/Apprentice, Contractor and School Challenge categories. Friends and family filled the arena to cheer on the 162 competitors from across the U.S. and Canada, as well as the professional national champions from Australia and China. Mexico’s champion attended as a guest this year but Mexico plans to compete in the 2020 Championship Weekend.

IDEAL National Championship Honors Electrical Trade Community

Four years ago, IDEAL Electrical established the IDEAL National (U.S.) Championship to showcase the skills and professionalism of today’s electricians. “With the U.S. facing a significant shortage of electricians in the next few years (U.S. Labor Department reporting 60,000 by 2026), we wanted to find a way to honor the trade community and help attract young men and women into satisfying careers as electricians and contractors,” said Doug Sanford, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Non-Lighting Businesses, IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC.

“I think we have an opportunity, and a responsibility, to powerfully demonstrate how pivotal this skilled trade is to powering and connecting the rest of us in virtually every element of our lives. Without electricians, technologies don’t move forward. Buildings don’t fully function. Homes don’t meet expectations.”

Road to Championship Weekend

This year, more than 58,000 electricians, students and apprentices competed in over 1,500 Qualifying Round events in 5 countries from March 4 – October 4, 2019. During these events, competitors needed to demonstrate both their problem-solving and physical skills around cutting, stripping, crimping, terminating and more – using IDEAL tools through a challenge judged by workmanship, safety and time.

This year, the team competitions were transformed into School and Contractor Challenges with the goal of honoring School and Contractor’s important contributions to the trade as well as showcasing the talent each brings to the table. There were new prizes designated specifically for them, including a RAM® ProMaster® Commercial Van w/ Custom Company Graphics, scholarships and IDEALcash. “The team competitions are always an exciting part of the weekend,” said Sanford. “You get to see team members play off of each other’s strengths and really shine when under pressure.”

2019 IDEAL National Championship Winners & Prizes

“Every year, we see the competition taken to another level,” said Sanford. “Both Professionals and Students/Apprentices came to this year’s Championship Weekend ready to demonstrate the workmanship and proficiency it takes to be a world-class electrician.”

Reigning two-time Professional Individual Champion and two-time Professional Team Champion, Greg Anliker, proved he was still at the top of his game, taking home his third Professional Individual Champion title and $75,000. Jordan Finfrock from Flatwoods, KY took the top spot in the Student/Apprentice Individual category with a prize of $30,000. 

Kellenberger Electric’s Clay Noga and Keith Runkle (Kellenberger 2) took home first place for the Contractor Challenge. The two teammates split the $40,000 prize money, in addition to $20,000 in IDEALcash & the RAM® ProMaster® Commercial Van w/ Custom Company Graphics and a local marketing support package.

Minneapolis JATC’s Angela Bissonnette-Penna and Jacob Thoennes earned first place in the North American School Challenge. Angela, the only female competitor to place in this year’s event, and Jacob split $20,000 prize and also took home $10,000 in IDEALcash for their school, five first-year scholarships and five complete tool kits for scholarship winners.

The full list of winners and prizes is as follows:

International Professional Competition

  • 1st place – Tom Matic, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia 
    •   Prize: RAM® 1500 Pickup Truck

North American Professionals participating as an individual:

  • 1st place – Greg Anliker, Elgin, IL 
    • Prize: $75,000 
  • 2nd place – Seth Agnew, Linn Creek, MO 
    • Prize: $25,000 
  • 3rd place – Clay Noga, Somonauk, IL 
    • Prize: $10,000

North American Contractor Challenge:

  • 1st place – Kellenberger Electric’s (Kellenberger 2) - Clay Noga, Somonauk, IL | Keith Runkle, Bolingbrook, IL 
    • Prize: $40,000 (split amongst teammates), $20,000 in IDEALcash to the Contractor & RAM® ProMaster® Commercial Van w/ Custom Company Graphics and a local marketing support package

North American Students/Apprentices participating as an individual: 

  • 1st place – Jordan Finfrock, Flatwoods, KY 
    • Prize: $30,000
  • 2nd place – Benjamin Budd, Potsdam NY 
    • Prize: $20,000
  • 3rd place – Marty Evans, Cannon Falls, MN 
    • Prize: $10,000

North American School Challenge:

  • 1st place – Minneapolis JATC’s Angela Bissonnette-Penna, Hugo, MN & Jacob Thoennes, Lino Lakes, MN 
    • Prize: $20,000 (split amongst teammates), $10,000 IDEALcash for trade school & 5 First-Year Scholarships along with five complete tool kits for scholarship winners

At the end of the weekend, IDEAL announced the 2020 Championship Weekend will be held at the Music City Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

To register for a 2020 qualifying round competition near you, visit IDEALnationals.com. Qualifying rounds will begin in Spring 2020. For photos and videos from this year’s competition, visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/IDEALindustries.

About IDEAL® ELECTRICAL 

IDEAL ELECTRICAL is a company of IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. IDEAL is a global leader in electrical tools and wire termination, as well as the development, manufacturing and marketing of enhanced energy management systems, products and technologies for professional electricians, design engineers and facilities executives. To learn more, visit IDEALind.com.

About IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC.

IDEAL INDUSTRIES, INC. is a global, diversified family-owned business designing and manufacturing superior products and tools for professional tradesmen in the electrical, wire processing, data communications, aerospace, automotive and construction industries.  The 103-year old company was founded in 1916 on the premise of forging ideal relationships with customers, employees, partners and communities.  The company has consistently grown and expanded under four generations of family ownership. To learn more, visit IDEALINDUSTRIES.com.

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