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December 2009: Making the Grade

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Making the Grade

Second-year Apprentice Takes 1st Place
in Four-year Contest

darren tolbolt

Darren Tobolt of Bloomville, Ohio, received 1st place honors in the Brick Division of the International Apprentice Contest, held in September at the John J. Flynn International Training Center in Bowie, Md. The contest was sponsored by the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC).

A 2008 high school graduate, Tobolt is just starting his second-year apprenticeship, yet he outscored apprentices from 13 other regional contests, many with four years of experience. Nominated by his BAC Local 40 of the Ohio Administrative District Council, Tobolt advanced to the national competition by advancing through a district contest and, then, a regional contest.

“Our winners represent levels of skill that are truly extraordinary,” says BAC President and International Masonry Institute Co-Chair John J. Flynn. “It’s a testament to their dedication to their craft and to the Union Industry’s commitment to quality training.”

darren tobolt

Tobolt is familiar with big contests. During the summer of 2008, he competed in Kansas City, Mo., at the national masonry contest sponsored by SkillsUSA and held at the H. Roe Bartle Convention Center.

In 2008, Tobolt graduated from the Pioneer Career and Technical Center in Shelby, Ohio, under the tutelage of 25-year veteran instructor David Rader.

“Darren Tobolt was always a good student – a hard worker, dependable, and a quality young man,” says Rader. “He started out quiet, but steady. By his senior year, he was doing everything I asked of him.”

Tolbolt speaks well of his instructor as well. “I owe most all of my success to Mr. Rader. He gave me my foundation, teaching me all the fundamentals and techniques. He influenced me by continuing to challenge me to be the best that I can be. And, he encouraged me to compete in masonry competitions.”

The mutual respect was exemplified when Rader drove from Ohio to Maryland to support Tobolt in the BAC/IMI International Apprentice Contest.

Back on the job, Tobolt received the praises of his employer, Andy Studer, a partner in the Studer-Obringer Construction Co. “It’s not as common as it once was, so we were very fortunate to be able to employ a young man with skills and a strong work ethic,” Studer says. “Darren is always reliable. He is an employee we can count on with the talent to be a long-term employee. I hope he maintains his interest in masonry.”

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