The International Insulation Industry Apprenticeship and Training Fund presented the 2017 Pablo Blieker Award to Ken Jakobsson and posthumously to Jermaine Ray.
The W. F. Pablo Blieker Award is engraved with the quote “Order is the way of success; nothing is given to us; success demands work, perseverance and honesty.” Pable Blieker was an outstanding individual and devoted training coordinator who had a dramatic impace on the Insulators Apprenticeship Program. The award is given annualy to recognize deserving individuals who exemplify the same qualities and dedication to our industry and training.
He was always willing to help apprentices or fellow trainers in an effort to improve the quality of the HFIAW apprenticeship programs. He represented the model of excellence that is still considered an industry standard among the JAC members. Blieker passed away in 2004.
Ken Jakobsson is from Local 118 Vancouver, BC. He learned how to be an insulator and trainer under the mentorship of Pablo for six years. Pablo selected and trained Ken to take over the Local 118 training program.
Jakobsson joined the insulation industry in the 1970s. He learned the trade from Pablo and eventually began teaching part-time and then full-time in 2000. He helped develop curriculum for SkillPlan, the joint labor-management organization that delivers skill training in the construction sector.
Part of Jakobsson’s significant contribution to Local 118 and to the IIIATF was to build on Pablo’s curriculum by slowly adapting international standards into it and harmonizing the syllabus across North America, creating several manuals for insulation apprenticeship training that are used throughout the industry.
In addition, Jakobsson sits on the steering Committee of the International Apprenticeship Conference and is integrally involved in the Master Apprenticeship Competitions in the Western Conference each year.
Jakobsson’s commitment does not stop at training, however. Ken has served as Local 118’s President, Vice-President, Chair of the Health and Welfare Board and an Executive Board member at various points since 1991.
Pictures from the 2017 MAC, JATC Conference and Pablo Bleiker Award events held in Toronto, Canada, June 25 to July 1.
“In his long career, Ken is estimated to have trained about 400 apprentices in the insulation industry – a remarkable number that shows how important Ken’s influence has been,” stated Tom Haun, IIIATF Administrator, as he awarded Jakobsson with the 2017 W.F. Pablo Blieker Award.
“I am positive that Pablo Bleiker would be very proud of Ken’s outstanding work in following his example” Haun continued.
Jakobsson was blindsided by the award when it was announced on June 28 at the beginning of the annual JAC Conference in Toronto.
“It means all of the work I have done and all of the experiences I have had, as part of the union and especially in training, have meant something,” he said.
When asked about the award, Jakobsson reflected on the George Meany Labor College program he attended in 2005 and the trainers that were his co-students that have received the Pablo Bleiker Award in the past.
“I can’t believe I am being put in this prestigious group,” he said.
“This is a win, not only for me but for Local 118. The entire staff, Lee Loftus, my Business Manager, and my secretary,” Jakobsson went on to say, “I am proud of all the work and training to be recognized as the first true Canadian to win the award.” Jakobsson remembered fondly that Bleiker was Swiss.
Jakobsson finished by stating, “In doing all of the training and all of the work, you don’t look for accolades, so this is personal satisfaction and completely fulfilling for my peers to recognize and vote for me. It is truly an honor.”
The other award winner this year, Jermaine Ray, was the HFIAW Local 46 Training Coordinator. Ray died in a tragic accident last year, days before the 2016 MAC and JAC events.
Ray was accepted into the Local 46 apprenticeship program in 1996. He worked hard during his apprenticeship, helping classmates and leading by example on the job by showing up every day and learning the trade.
Once Ray completed his apprenticeship he started getting involved in the apprenticeship committee and the Executive Board, something he took seriously and was proud to do.
He was on the JAC Committee for seven years and then elected the Local 46 Training Coordinator in June 2010. As the Training Coordinator, he took two apprentices to the conference competition and both won the Central States Apprenticeship title. His apprentice, Branden Price, won last year’s International MAC Competition.
Ray had served on the Local 46 Executive Board since 2011. He was also active on the Organizing Committee, participating in many campaigns. He was also proud of his family, including his wife Callie and their two children Lyric and Jaylen.
Callie was in Toronto, along with several trainers from Local 46, to accept the award on behalf of Jermaine Ray.
“It was an honor to accept this award on behalf of Jermaine and the Local” said Eric Woody, the Local 46 Training Coordinator. “He was my friend, I worked with him for five years, and he represented our Local and the program well.”
Congratulations to Ken Jakobsson and Jermaine Ray, your dedication to the Insulation industry has been outstanding and will forever be recognized through the 2017 W.F. Pablo Bleiker Award.