Chris Miller, a pipefitter apprentice from UA Local 168 Marietta, brought home the title of International Welding Champion at the 2015 UA International Apprentice Contest held in Ann Arbor, Mich. in August.
With his victory, Miller joins a growing list of Ohio apprentices who have earned the title of UA International Champion, but it marked a first for his Local.
The fourth-year apprentice, who works for Pioneer Pipe, Inc., had the best overall combined score on a written exam and hands-on projects that included pipefitting and welding tasks, a 10-foot layout and a CPR exam.
In addition to Miller’s championship, two other Ohio apprentices also took home awards. Sprinklerfitter Brian Price and Pipefitter Jim Primozic, both apprentices with Pipefitters Local 120 Cleveland, earned “Best Project” awards for a copper and pipefitter layout project, respectively.
The 25-year-old Miller called the competition intense and admitted he was nervous the whole time.
“I wanted to win, but wasn’t sure I was going to win,” Miller said when asked about his chances. “The others had to be just as good as me to get to this point in the competition.”
“I was so excited for, so happy for him. He’s such a good a guy,” said Local 168 Training Coordinator Jeff Smith, who described his student as conscientious, sincere, soft-spoken, humble and helpful.
Miller has been training to be a welder since he was a teenager. He attended a vocational high school where he focused on welding and then went to the Hobart Institute of Welding Technology before finally joining the UA as an apprentice.
Miller knows he must stay humble and not let this success get to his head. He said he must also continue to hone his skills and become an even better welder in order to have a long and successful career, which will allow him to take care of an expanding family. Miller and his wife, Steph, have a daughter named Isabel, and the couple is currently expecting their second child.
ACT Ohio congratulates Chris on being named International Champion and also congratulates Brian and Jim on their “Best of” awards. The dedication, determination and skillset shown by these young men is a direct indication of the oustanding training they have received both in the classroom and on the job.