Training Coordinators share ideas, expand teaching skills during JAC Conference

Training Coordinators from across the U.S. and Canada came together in late June to share ideas and discuss the latest training techniques during the 42nd Annual HFIAW Joint Apprenticeship Conference.

Hosted by HFIAW Local 95 Toronto, the three-day conference kicked off with a welcome reception at the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto. In addition to networking and catching up with colleagues, many of the attendees had their picture with the Stanley Cup. The evening also included Insulator Ladies’ 50/50 raffle and the introduction of the Master Apprentice Competition contestants.

The conference sessions began with Local 95’s former Training Coordinator and current Business Agent Adam Melnick welcoming everyone to Toronto and reminding everyone that Canada would be celebrating its 150th anniversary on July 1, the day after the events conclude.

Local 95 Business Manager David Gardner followed by thanking all of the volunteers who supported the event and the Local 95 JAC program.

HFIAW General President James McCourt officially opened the conference and stressed the importance that the event return to Canada. He also shared highlights from the recent Canadian Legislative Conference that was attended by the entire General Executive Board, as well as the dedication of the Canadian Workers Memorial.

“We’re also here to talk about the apprentices” said McCourt. “There is only going to be one winner at the end of this competition, but from the General Executive Board’s point of view, we think you are all winners just by being here and representing your Conference.

“I wish I was working in the industry today.” McCourt continued “the curriculum and apprenticeship programs have been taken to a different level. Much of that is a product of the hard work that Tom Haun and the Steering Committee has facilitated.”

McCourt concluded his remarks with a message of encouragement and a challenge for competitors and the training coordinators to move forward and do even more.

“Apprenticeship is more than just going to school and learning the trade. We are teaching people to be professionals.” McCourt said. “You have to keep this going, you have to get involved and you have to take action in your Local Unions. It is up to you to keep this organization moving in a positive direction.”

International Insulation Industry Apprentice and Training Fund Administrator Tom Haun also expressed enthusiasm for being back in Canada, and also mapped out the conference agenda.

“It is awesome to be back in Canada! This is the second time our JAC Conference has been held in this country; the first one was in 1989 in Vancouver. This is the first MAC held in Canada and it is great to be here.”

After the MAC competitors and their Training Coordinators were introduced, Haun proclaimed, “You are the best of the best” as the crowd gave the group a standing ovation.

Haun moved on to announce that the IIIATF Trustees are awarding the 2017 Pablo Blieker award to Jermaine Ray, posthumously, and to Ken Jakobsson from HFIAW Local 118 Vancouver, BC. 

After the opening speeches, the MAC competitors returned to the competition and the conference began in earnest.

2017 MAC and JAC Conference

Pictures from the 2017 MAC, JATC Conference and Pablo Bleiker Award events held in Toronto, Canada, June 25 to July 1.

Local 6 Training Coordinator Rick “Dude” Rothwell spoke to the attendees and welcomed the vendors that attended the conference.

Tom Germuska Jr. and Laura Ziemianski from BMA Media Group updated the group about the ongoing recruitment campaign. In 2016, the Transform Your Life | Transform Your World recruitment efforts were rolled out at the JAC, providing every Local a variety of tools to help attract more and better apprentice candidates. Looking ahead, additional pieces will be added to the campaign, including a texting component, more videos and recruitment tools to help with compliance with new 29-30 EEO requirements.

Next was Local 118’s Training Coordinator Ken Jakobsson and Business Manager Lee Loftus, who spoke to the audience about the Canadian Red Seal program. Jakobsson and Loftus have been working with the Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) on a harmonization initiative to collect the Insulator training programs to certify and work on increasing both the organization and validity of the training. More information about the Red Seal program and resources can be found online at

Bob McGuckin and Sean Craven from Local 17 in Chicago spoke to the audience about Kahoot!, an interactive game-based learning platform, that can be used in apprenticeship training programs. The presentation included playing a game via the app for the prize of a heat sensor for use on a phone. McGuckin and Brian Cavey from Local 24 have uploaded and created several of the training tests on the IIIATF account for use by all Local programs.

Day 2 of the conference opened with Canadian Conference International Vice President Fred Clare welcoming everyone. He concluded with “I am really happy to be here.”

John Stahl from Local 17 Philadelphia addressed the process and certification steps he has taken obtain accreditation from the Council on Occupational Education (COE). The lengthy process includes meeting 10 standards, paying numerous fees, following steps, attending meetings and completing applications. After a year-long process, Stahl is close to obtaining federal funding to offset costs for every apprentice. He has worked with both the U.S. Departments of Education and Labor to complete the process most often followed by colleges and universities.

“This is a big deal” proclaimed Tom Haun as the process steps continued to be outlined. There are specific qualifications, policies and forms that were addressed and discussed amongst the attendees. Stahl, now having the federal accreditation, will begin working for similar recognition at the state level.

According to Stahl, this process has made the program better. Eventually, the goal is to have other Local Apprentice Programs to complete the process, but Haun cautioned, “It is up to you, you have to have everyone in your organization on board.”  

Bob McGuckin, from HFIAW Local 17 Chicago was joined by a Chicago-based tech company to discuss an opportunity that allows individual members to view their certifications online. 

Fellow Chicagoan Alec Rexroat, the Executive Director of the National Union Insulation Contractors Alliance (NUICA), followed McGuckin and spoke about a Standards Manual they are effectively using in Chicago when campaigning for work. Rexroat proclaimed, “If we can get companies to do maintenance, we can put a lot of people to work.”

Sessions continued with Steve Clayman from Thermal Insulation Association of Canada (TIAC) discussed basic and general contractor best practices items. More information about TIAC can be found online at

The next presentation was provided by Shane Hammock, from Local 86 Nashville, Tenn., who spoke about Radio Frequency (RF) Radiation Awareness. His presentation included a PowerPoint and video, along with charts and web pages that are available for use when teaching about working with the RF Radiation hazard.   More information and the content from his presentation can be found online at

Local 17 Instructor Shawn Craven took the stage next to update the attendees on effective usage of heat cameras. Various cameras that Craven and Training Coordinator Billy Hodges from Local 16 San Francisco use were passed around. With attendees both listening to Craven and Hodges and testing out the cameras, a short course was taught on how to adjust and work with the equipment, as well as how to work with contractors to secure more work.

“This is just another tool in our tool box,” Craven said, which prompted Hodges to add, “And this is a great tool to introduce.”

To begin Day 3, McGuckin taught the “Foundations for Safety Leadership” to the trainers in attendance. The lesson can be taught as part of the OSHA 30 course. All of the material in the presentation can be found at 

Haun followed the safety session with info about new training videos that are in production as well as details on new recruitment videos planned for the coming year. Joined by BMA Media staff, short clips were shown to the attendees from a video titled, “The Science of Insulation,” along with training segments on more advanced metal layout instructional videos. The crowd expressed excitement about the training materials that will be completed by the end of the year.

Hammock returned to the stage to discuss the new silica standards to further limit exposure on job sites. The updated OSHA standards final rule took effect in June 2016 with dates into 2017 and 2018 for full enforcement.

The final instructional session was led by Ben Frank, Local 17 training instructor, who an updated approach to make a pattern for a Reducing 90 cut with rubber. This new layout is available for other instructors to use, both in a PowerPoint and in a word document for use during apprenticeship training.

Haun concluded the conference by addressing various on-going items and forecasting projects through the International and IIIATF. He also facilitated an open discussion about the International Apprenticeship Conference and MAC Competition and conversation with Tony Magallanes about the 2018 competition that will be held in Long Beach, Calif., hosted by the Local 5 JATC.

Many of the training sessions held during the JAC were led by the Steering Committee. Haun thanked this group of Training Coordinators and recognized their continued efforts and dedication to the industry and to training.

The Steering Committee includes the following members: Terry Walsh from Local 1, Tony Magallanes from Local 5, Rick Rothwell from Local 6, Doug Steinmetzer from Local 7, Dave Soika from Local 12, Lew Fitzgerald, John Sullivan and John Stahl, III from Local 14, Bill Hodges from Local 16, Bob McGuckin from Local 17, Todd Conn from Local 18, Pete Deimler from Local 23, Brian Cavey from Local 24, Eric Houske from Local 34, Ron Eades from Local 37, Jim Petrides from Local 44, Gavin Dailey from Local 45, Jonathan Hammock from Local 86, Adam Melnick from Local 95, Dan Annet from Local 110 and Ken Jakobsson from Local 118.

The following training coordinators and trainers attended the 2017 JAC in Toronto: Bill Birmingham from Local 2; Mark Scoville from Local 4; Lupe Moreno, Michael Patterson and Tony Magallanes from Local 5; Rick 'Dude' Rothwell from Local 6; Larry Nettekovan and Doug Steinmetzer from Local 7; Joseph Rodgers, Dave Soika and Kevin Soika from Local 12; Sean Bowman, Stephen Pettit, Ronald Rickert and John L Stahl III from Local 14; Billy Hodges from Local 16; Shawn Craven, Ben Frank, Robert McGuckin and Jim McManus Local 17; Ernie Blankenship and Todd Conn from Local 18; Craig Stevens from Local 19; Robert Chadwick and Lacy Wolf from Local 22; Pete Deimler and Bill McGee from Local 23; Mike Lassen from Local 25; Steve Travis from Local 27; Ron Eades from Local 37; Ray Wooters from Local 42; Bob Bernius, Gavin Dailey, Ron Haupriciat, Kiaris Shively, Rod Taulker and Ryan Webb from Local 45; Tony and Erik Woody from Local 46; Kenny Craft from Local 50; Andrew O'Brien Sr., Leo Damaris and Carl Wilson from Local 53; Jeremie Overson from Local 76; James Todd Motz from Local 80; H.B. Wright from Local 82; Shane Hammock from Local 86; Tracy Gillis from Local 87; John Markevic from Local 91; Dale Cullum from Local 92; Roger Brown from Local 94; Trevor Weir from Local 95; Dan Annett from Local 110; Lee Loftus and Ken Jakobsson from Local 118; and Carey Chutskof from Local 119.

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