Klein Tools has selected six regional winners for its 5th annual Electrician of the Year award. The finalists, who represent the Northwest, Southwest, Central North, Central South, Southeast, and Northeast regions, were chosen for their commitment to the electrical industry. In recognition of their professional achievements, safety excellence, and community dedication, each regional winner will receive the Ultimate Garage Package, which includes an 18-piece Journeyman tool set, additional Klein Tools products and a trip to Klein Tools’ manufacturing headquarters in Mansfield, Texas. The regional winners also have a chance to win a trip to the Big Game in February 2019 if selected as the 2018 Electrician of the Year.
Fans will be able to vote online for their favorite regional winner from Sept. 3-7, 2018. After the fan voting, Klein family members will review and score the regional winners to calculate the grand prize winner and select who will be attending the Big Game in 2019. The grand prize winner will also receive $1,500 of professional-grade Klein Tools products.
The 2018 Electrician of the Year Regional Winners are:
Region 1 “Northwest”
Steve Heryford started as an electrician’s mate in the U.S. Navy and has worked his way to becoming an electrical contractor and owner of his own business. Fully trained in and aware of occupational safety standards, and known for his troubleshooting and repair abilities, he is the only electrician the local fire marshal and building inspector trust to work on their personal residences.
Heryford spends many off-duty hours working as an instructor at the local community college’s electrical apprenticeship program, instilling his passion for safety in future electricians. He also donates his time and knowledge to local nonprofit and low-income projects simply because he loves what he does and wants to pay it forward.
When he is not playing the role of trusted electrician, he acts as high school basketball coach and referee.
Region 2 “Southwest”
Not only is John Spier a project manager, service director, estimator, and journeyman, but he is also a dedicated mentor to local apprentices. A role model to electrical novices (and colleagues), Spier is licensed as a journeyman electrician, has obtained his fiber termination and installation, OSHA 30 certificate, and low voltage termination and installation cards, and participates on the Northern New Mexico Independent Electrical Contractors (NNMIEC) Committee.
As a committee member of NNMIEC, Spier trains apprentices from their first day on the job through the day they take their electrical licensing exam. In addition to training over 50 apprentices, he has also encouraged an additional 30 to join the electrical trade through the NNMIEC program. He enjoys showing his apprentices the value and flexibility of the trade.
As an experienced electrician, Spier has learned that the best practice in safety is to lead by example. He uses a strict but fair policy to enforce safety and security on all worksites. After security, his clients are top priority. He often checks on worksite issues personally, always working thoroughly and with a smile and often receives praise from clients for the magnificent work he performs on many different projects.
Region 3 “Central North”
Dave Elliott manages all electric, HVAC, refrigeration and plumbing systems for 18 locations of a fast-food restaurant chain, keeping 600 to 700 employees safe while on the job. Never one to cut corners, Elliott ensures that every job is done right the first time, making sure every restaurant is up to code and beyond with his recent installation of LED lighting at every store. An expert on a wide range of equipment, including single and three-phase, Elliott is well-versed in control and energy management systems.
Elliott is proud to say that he and his co-workers have never been injured while on the job. This record can be attributed to the many extra steps he takes to ensure safety, such as locking out equipment, working in teams and spending time with new managers to talk about safety issues and hazards. He keeps his knowledge in safety sharp by attending electrical safety classes and receiving OSHA training certifications.
When not repairing or inspecting one of the 18 restaurants he is responsible for, Elliott remodels and upgrades other store electrical systems and helps family and friends with various electrical projects. He also volunteers his time to work for low-income families, community groups and local churches to ensure his community remains safe and is just a phone call away for a large number of younger electricians and training technicians in the electrical trade to guarantee the next generation has the right skill set for their careers.
Region 4 “Central South”
Patrick Schwent is known both on the job and throughout his community as a hard-working skilled tradesman who is committed to safety. Many know him as the electrician with a great work ethic and superior quality of work who also goes above and beyond on the job and for others.
While placing quality as a priority, Schwent does all he can to meet code and even surpass it. He conducts thorough work and safety practices on all residential and commercial builds. His workmanship is so precise that many county inspectors know him for his commitment to safety and trust his work will always comply with state law.
In addition to his electrical work, Schwent also ensures his community’s safety as a firefighter and chaplain for the Lincoln County Fire Protection District in Missouri, where he is also head of the Jr. Firefighter program and teaches the importance of safety to the next generation.
Region 5 “Southeast”
Mike Adams is a fourth-generation electrician and has had the experience of many different jobs in the field. From wiring casinos and office buildings to jobs at the Pensacola Naval Air Station and Duke Field, he still takes the time to ensure complete accuracy. Before Adams even starts a job, he pictures the finished project to be sure everything is planned and exact.
While planning his projects, Adams always puts safety first. As an authorized OSHA instructor for the past five years, he teaches students, employees and others in the community to follow the OSHA standards to ensure safety for everyone on a project. He also requires all his coworkers wear PPE and has toolbox talks to go over safety protocol before starting the day. Living in Florida also means that he encourages everyone to stay hydrated in the extreme heat.
Adams understands the need for the next generation to be highly trained in the skilled trades and devotes his spare time to teaching the electricity program at Locklin Technical Center in Milton, Florida. This experience has allowed him to become a member of SkillsUSA where he has served as an advisor. Through SkillsUSA, his students successfully competed in the regional Electrical Competition and the Industrial Motor Control Competition. He has even had some students compete in the state and national level.
While Adams is known throughout his community for safety and his electrical work, for the past 14 years, he has helped troubled students through challenging times serving as a youth pastor. He has also devoted his time as assistant director and director of many youth and children’s camps, truly demonstrating his passion for helping future generations.
Region 6 “Northeast”
As a journeymen lineman, Tom Johnson is devoted to his trade. Through his long hours, hard work and dedication to his career, Johnson is highly respected by his coworkers as he holds safety as his top priority. With over nine years as a journeymen lineman, he has never been involved in a work-related injury. He also hasn’t witnessed a member of his crew being injured as he won’t allow shortcuts or dangerous mistakes to be made while on the job.
Since starting in the field as an apprentice, Johnson and his wife founded the National Sisterhood United for Journeymen Linemen (NSUJL), a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting families of fallen or injured IBEW Journeymen Linemen, Utility Linemen, Apprentice Linemen, Groundmen, Operators, LCTT and/or their spouses and children. He has donated countless hours to the organization’s day to day operations as well as event preparation and execution as he serves as head judge for NSUJL’s yearly rodeo. His passion for the industry and his fellow tradesmen is evident through his commitment to safety and devotion to his career and nonprofit organization.
For more information on these winners, the Electrician of the Year award and the fan voting period, visit www.kleintools.com/eoy.