Qualifying Rounds for 2019 Ideal National Championship Now Underway

Qualifying Rounds for 2019 Ideal National Championship Now Underway

SYCAMORE, IL – IDEAL® Electrical has launched its fourth annual national competition to find the best electricians in the United States and Canada. “This year, we believe more than 100,000 professionals, apprentices and students will compete across the United States alone,” said Doug Sanford, Group President of IDEAL Electrical. Qualifying and Championship Weekend competitions will include professional and student/apprentice individual competitors, as well as Contractor and School teams.

“We now have IDEAL National Championship competitions in the U.S., Canada, China, Australia and Mexico. So this year, we’re bringing the national champions from each of those countries to Championship Weekend in Orlando, Florida, November 7-9 at Disney’s® Coronado Springs Resort.”

Sanford continued, “After we crown this year’s North American champions, we’ll have a special ‘International Round’ to determine the top electricians in the world. Champions from the U.S., Australia, Canada and China will compete.”

“We’re always looking for ways to make the event better, more challenging for the competitors and more inclusive of the entire trade,” said Sanford. “So this year, we have launched the Contractor Challenge and School Challenge to showcase the quality of talent each contractor and school brings to the profession.” Contractors and schools are being invited to register teams at IDEALnationals.com. “We believe this change will inject some additional fun and friendly rivalry into the competition,” he added.

“The team competitions have always been a highlight of the weekend,” said Sanford. “But this year it will be even more exciting.” Sanford explained, “We’ve shifted to two-person teams, versus three, so it should be easier for both students and professionals to field a team.” Sanford expects over 100 contractor teams and over 150 school teams to compete this year. 

IDEAL Electrical established the IDEAL National (U.S.) Championship four years ago to showcase the skills and professionalism of today’s electricians. “The U.S. is facing a significant shortage of electricians in the next few years. The U.S. Labor Department reports the gap will reach 60,000 electricians by 2026. We created the IDEAL National Championship to honor the trade community and help attract young men and women into satisfying careers as electricians and contractors,” stated Sanford.

“There has never been a better time for all of us in the industry to do everything we can to attract young men and women from all backgrounds to become skilled electricians,” said Sanford.  “College debt now weighs very heavy on the families of 44 million young people in the United States. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, the average college student now carries $28,650 in student loan debt; 90-day loan delinquency is up 12 percent. Many of those students carry their college loan debt into their 40s!”

Sanford counters that career electricians start with no debt, can make great money and can enjoy an incredible lifestyle. “Job satisfaction for an electrician is extremely high. They get to use both sides of their brain, the analytical and the creative. They get physical exercise. They can work for themselves or join a firm. Plus, there is plenty of work to go around, especially as the U.S. economy continues to grow and expand.”

Sanford said IDEAL is reaching out to contractors, distributors, schools, unions and independents to spread enthusiasm for the trade and participation in the National Championship. “This has become an important showcase for the entire trade. Other countries now want to be part of it.” 

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 at work, at home and at play. Without ‘Sparkies,’ technologies don’t move forward. Buildings don’t fully function. Homes don’t meet expectations. And cars don’t anticipate problems.”

             “Only 174 electricians will make it to Championship Weekend,” said Sanford. “That weekend, we will award over $600,000 in cash and prizes. So, this is a big recognition not only for individuals, but also the contractors they work for, and the schools that they represent.”

“Each electrician that makes it to Championship Weekend experiences what it feels like to be at the very top of their profession,” said Sanford. “We get to see that as they walk into the finals arena. Surrounded by friends, family and peers cheering them on, these men and women know that they’ve arrived at a special point in their career and should feel proud of their accomplishments.”

For professional electricians participating as an individual: 1st Place – $75,000; 2nd Place – $25,000; 3rd Place – $10,000;

For the Contractor Challenge: 1st Place – $40,000 (split among teammates); + NEW – $20,000 in IDEALcash to the Contractor; + NEW – $50,000 in marketing support to the Contractor.

For trade school students competing for individual honors: 1st Place – $30,000; 2nd Place – $20,000; 3rd Place – $10,000;

For the School Challenge:1st Place – $20,000 (split among teammates); + NEW – $10,000 IDEALcash for the Trade School; + NEW – 5 first-year scholarships along with 5 complete tool kits for scholarship winners.

Qualifying round events are held through October 4th across the U.S. and in China, Canada, Australia and Mexico. The competition is designed to find the best in class among both professionals and students/apprentices. Each must register and then can compete as an individual and/or as part of a team (two electricians or students from the same company or school).

During qualifying rounds, competitors will need to demonstrate both their problem-solving and physical skills around, cutting, stripping, crimping, terminating and more – using IDEAL tools through a challenge judged by time, craftsmanship, termination, connectivity, and safety.

Competitors will utilize the following IDEAL products to complete a task: Linesman Pliers, Combo Head™ Screwdriver, T®-Stripper Wire Stripper and Twister Pro® Wire Connector.

All tools will be available at each qualifying round event, but competitors have the option to use their own IDEAL tools, which can be purchased in advance to practice by visiting a local distributor or IDEALnationals.com.

The professional and student/apprentice with the best scores in each state/territory will advance to Championship Weekend. The top three individual competitors from 2018 will return for a chance to defend their titles.

There are also 14 Wild Card slots available for professionals and students/apprentices respectively. These will be filled by the three best scoring individuals from each U.S. region (North, South, East and West) who do not win their state/territory’s bid and two additional top scorers from Canada.

Those advancing will receive travel accommodations to compete in Championship Weekend at Disney’s® Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida on November 7-9.


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