LA PORTE, TexasFor the first time, a craft trainee representing Austin Industrial will compete at the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) National Craft Championships in Long Beach, California. Uriel Cardenas, a pipefitter intern with Austin Industrial since 2018, will be one of 200 students from across the country to demonstrate their superior skills, training, and safe work practices, while competing for top honors in their chosen crafts. Twelve craft disciplines will be represented, among them will be structural steel, pipe welding, plumbing, HVAC, instrumentation, and electrical.

Uriel is pursuing a degree in pipefitting at the Lee College McNair campus in Baytown, TX. The Houston ABC Chapter’s Construction & Maintenance Education Foundation (CMEF), is sponsoring Uriel and five other students from the Houston area to attend the premier competition. Austin is sponsoring his airfare, lodging, expenses, and will reimburse Uriel for hours worked at the event.

“To even be considered for the competition is a big deal” said Mike Cox, president of Austin Industrial. “This is definitely an accomplishment worth celebrating.”

The four-part competition will test pipefitter trainees on their craft comprehension through a written exam, a threaded exam, a bolt-up exam, and a welded exam.

“My peers and my teachers noticed me, and how well I was doing, and I was recommended by my teacher to go to the championship,” said 19-year-old Uriel. “I’m excited, I’m confident, and I’m ready to compete and show my skill, craftsmanship, and how much I’ve learned.”

On the second and final day of the competition, the competitors will be tested on their skills during a six-hour project. The practical performance test accounts for 75% of the final score. Competitors will be judged on craftsmanship, care and use of tools, ability to follow directions, neatness, time management, and safety.

“Every day after work I go to Lee College to practice with my teacher. When I’m home, I’m constantly studying the modules that I need to know for the exam,” Uriel said.

Uriel also prepares regularly for the safety and awareness portions of the competition while performing his internship as a pipefitter helper for Austin. “The journeymen at the chemical plant I work at, they show me everything I need to know from where I need to go in case of an emergency, to generally keeping an eye out for anything that may be out of the ordinary,” he explained.

Austin Industrial Mechanical Superintendent Al White and NCCER Primary Administrator Sjolander “Hattie” Jackson will accompany Uriel to the competition. Everyone at Austin Industrial, along with a strong contingent of supporters, will be rooting for his success. “I have been encouraged by my teachers, my coworkers, my friends and family, everyone who knew about the competition encouraged me to try my best so I can go compete, and hopefully win,” Uriel remarked.

About Austin Industrial

Austin Industrial is a premier provider of maintenance, construction, and soft craft services to the oil, gas, and chemical; power; pulp and paper; and manufacturing industries. Austin Industrial is a privately held, merit shop company with 4,000 employee-owners. Its core service areas are the Gulf Coast and the southeastern United States, with capabilities to perform nationwide. Austin is committed to safety above all else and to staying ahead by thinking ahead. They equip the most experienced employee-owners in the industry with innovative technology solutions that improve efficiency and enhance safety performance. For more information, contact Austin Industrial at 713-641-3400.