Thursday, December 02, 2021
Please join us in congratulating WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice Michael Webb on earning the fastest Apprentice time in California in the IDEAL National Championship Qualifiers!
And stay tuned as he competes in the IDEAL National Championship in Nashville from December 15 through 17
We’re excited to announce that one of WECA’s very own will be representing us on the national stage at the 2021 IDEAL National Championship in Nashville from December 15 through 17! Third-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice Michael Webb—employed by WECA Member Contractor Butterfield Electric—earned the fastest Apprentice time in California at a qualifying event held at WECA’s Rancho Cordova headquarters the week of October 25, clocking in at 2:03:25.
“I have always been competitive and love competition, and on the day of the time trial, I watched a lot of people go first just to see how they did it and think about what I would have done to be faster,” says Michael. “After two fifth-year Apprentices got their times, they came into class and said they owned the time now and that we wouldn’t be able to touch it. I took what they said as a challenge and went back to do it again, telling the IDEAL proctor that I’d get it under three minutes easily this time and actually ended up finishing it a little over two minutes.”
Since finding out that he qualified for the National Championship, Michael has been preparing for the final competition by watching videos of past competitions to try to get a better understanding of what things will be like—from the boards to the size of the wire, and even the crowd size. Michael also constructed a small practice board in his garage to try and be even faster than he was during the qualifiers.
Michael’s path to WECA has been nonlinear, but when he looks back on his journey toward becoming a Commercial Electrical Apprentice, he realizes that his love for all things electrical was there all along.
“I was in college and had switched my major a couple of times. I thought engineering was what I wanted to do, but after awhile I realized that I didn’t really enjoy sitting behind a desk all day. After hearing from a WECA graduate how the program is run and what I’d be able to do in the field, I instantly knew this was something I wanted to do. Looking back, now it seems like such a clear path that I should have taken from the start, because in high school I found joy in setting up friends’ and my own car systems and was given the opportunity to redo the entire electrical system on a very old Jeep that I now own,” says Michael.
Michael credits his Apprenticeship success to various factors—engaged instructors, a dedicated employer, intensive job sites, and his mom.
“I’ve had James Hall for most of my classes and he is very informative and knowledgeable and doesn’t hesitate to elaborate on information to make sure everyone understands what we go over,” says Michael. “After I saw that I was on the leaderboard, James was actually the first person I told. And later that day we had a lab and he pulled me aside and showed me different methods of bending pipe that was faster than how I had been doing it before. He wants everyone in his class to succeed and always makes class fun and interesting.”
As for his employer Butterfield Electric, Michael says he “Still feels very lucky to have had them sponsor me so I could actually get into the program. I’ve been able to work with a lot of high-caliber electricians with them, and my employer put me with a high-caliber foreman that had taken an interest in me. He brought me with him to different jobs and has had me do a lot of challenging work that I’ve enjoyed every minute of.”
One of those jobs was a project at a VA hospital working on catheterization labs and operating rooms.
“The last job site we were on helped a lot,” says Michael. “The job was pretty much done by a four-person crew, so I got to get my hands on a lot of the work that needed to be done wiring the medical booms and all the other medical equipment, which really helped me hone my craft.”
And last—but not least—Michael says that his mom “Has always been there for me and always supported me, even when I dropped out of college with no plan. She is the one who connected me with the WECA graduate, which led me to join the trade, which I plan on having a very long career with.”
Congratulations on qualifying for the 2021 IDEAL National Championships, Michael! We’re thrilled to have you represent WECA on the national stage and will be cheering you on every step of the way. We wish you the best of luck!