Scott Cox (left) and Jerry Manning (right) congratulate Gold Medalist James Ainey (center) on his first-place win.

It’s an AFSA Sweep at NCC!

Members Win Gold, Silver, and Bronze

The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA) was pleased to learn that fire sprinkler apprentices from three AFSA Contractor member companies won gold, silver, and bronze medals at the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) 2022 National Craft Championships (NCC) held in San Antonio in March.  All three apprentices are indentured at the ABC Florida Gulfcoast Chapter. The 33rd annual competition showcased the skills and expertise of more than 175 of the nation’s top-performing craft professionals. 

Gold Medal—James Ainey

Ainey with members of ABC during the awards ceremony.

James Ainey, a fourth-year fire sprinkler apprentice with Cox Fire Protection, Inc., Tampa, Florida, won the Fire Sprinkler competition and received the gold medal. He also competed in the 28th National Apprentice Competition (NAC) at AFSA40: Convention, Exhibition, and Apprentice Competition in San Antonio in September 2021 and placed third. 

“I couldn’t be more proud of James. He is an outstanding young man and represents Cox Fire in the best of ways,” says Scott Cox, president of Cox Fire Protection, Inc. “James has a very bright future in our industry. He is one of those individuals that makes coming to work a joy each day.” 

“While it was nerve-racking to compete, it was 100 percent worth it,” says Ainey. “I got to meet many new people in the industry, who all share the same passion. After winning, it was a feeling I’ve never felt before. I had such a huge feeling of accomplishment.  Of course, I couldn’t have done it without my mentor Jerry Manning who was there rooting me on, and Cox Fire’s President Scott Cox for believing in me.”

Jerry Manning never had a doubt Ainey would bring back the “sweet creamy gold,” stating: “He is a great representation of Cox Fire Protection.”

Silver Medal—Logan Best

From left to right: Chris Johnson celebrates with ABC NCC Silver Medalist Logan Best and Logan’s wife Angela.

Logan Best, an apprentice in his fourth year with Piper Fire Protection, Inc., Clearwater, Florida, won second place and the silver medal at ABC’s 2022 NCC.

“I could not be happier for Logan and his wonderful wife Angela,” says Chris Johnson, president and CEO of Piper Fire Protection, Inc. “Logan and his family have sacrificed hours and hours of family time so that Logan can become one of the best tradesman in the country.  I know Logan, his family, and his Piper family are so proud of his amazing accomplishment.  He is a tremendous teammate and craftsman.”

 “I think that fact that our Florida Gulfcoast ABC Chapter took the top three spots at NCC shows that we have some fantastic instructors within our organization and the contractors in our region are committed to excellence.”

Bronze Medal-Derrick Brown

Third-Place Winner and Bronze Medalist Derrick Brown is a fourth-year apprentice with Sprinklermatic, Davie, Florida.

Sprinklermatic Superintendent and Mentor Asher Detwiler (right) cheered on Apprentice Derrick Brown (left) , who won the Bronze Medal at NCC.

“After all the growth and opportunities I’ve had over the years at Sprinklermatic, none of the accomplishments mean as much as the experience of encouraging and helping others learn and grow,” says Asher Detwiler, Brown’s superintendent/mentor. “As superintendents and mentors, we get to see a lot of incredible work that we can all be proud of. But, our greatest accomplishment as leaders is inspiring and building our future leaders.”

Competition Details 

The NCC featured more than 175 of the nation’s best construction craft professionals vying for top honors in 15 competitions with skills on display across 12 crafts. NCC also featured a team competition with journey-level craft professionals from different crafts working to complete a joint project. The competition included a two-hour online exam and a six-hour practical performance test.


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