Plumber makes it to international competition - Barre Montpelier Times Argus

Plumber makes it to international competition

Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo

Chris Royea, of Williamstown, a plumber with Vermont Mechanical, recently traveled to Brazil to represent the U.S. in the World Skills competition.

WILLIAMSTOWN A 20-year-old from Williamstown participated in an international plumbing competition in So Paulo, Brazil, last week.

The competition was very intense and took a lot of mental and physical strength, said Chris Royea. It was different than the way we do plumbing in the states so that was a challenge, but overall it was a good time and I took a lot away from it that will help me with my plumbing career.

It all started during his sophomore year of high school, when Royea checked out programs offered by the Barre Technical Center. He signed up for a plumbing and heating class, taught by Jim Ficken, who Royea has credited with introducing him and influencing him to a career in plumbing.

I gave it a shot, Royea said. I really enjoyed it.

While in high school, Royea became active with SkillsUSA in addition to being a member of the National Honor Society and the National Technical Honor Society. SkillsUSA is an organization serving teachers and high school and college students interested in technical, skilled and service occupations. Royea won the Vermont competition for SkillsUSA and also attended a national competition, where he said he finished in the top five for 2013.

Because of that, he was able to apply to go to the WorldSkills competition in Brazil. Every two years, hundreds of young people from 73 countries compete in the event. Royea competed as part of the SkillsUSA World Team in the WorldSkills Plumbing and Heating contest. He credits SkillsUSA and the competition experience with helping him become less shy.

Chris is very talented, said Robert Hahn, Royeas mentor expert who lives in New Jersey and accompanied him to Brazil. To be in this competition you have to be able to be adaptive.

For the competition, Royea said he installed a gas line, created a drainage system and set up a sink, toilet, and shower mount.

Judges go through after youre done and judge the workmanship and how accurate it was, he said. According to WorldSkills, competitors in the plumbing and heating contest are judged on work safety, installation and decision-making.

Hahn said, You really have to be adaptive to be able to learn and adjust to the materials that they are using at an international level. Chris was great that way.

He and Royea worked together to prepare prior to the competition. Hahn visited Vermont to learn about Royeas experience and skills. They also went to a training center together in New Hampshire, where Royea was trained on some of the tools used in the competition. Royea also spent a weekend in New Jersey with Hahn, practicing for the event.

He literally spent the weekend working on a test project, said Hahn.

Of the trip to Brazil, Royea said it was awesome. He visited a resort as well as an elementary school, where children put on a Brazilian dance routine and asked questions. Royea works full time for Vermont Mechanical, based in Williston. He said if he had chance he would like to do more competitions in the future.


Write a comment

Comments: 0