Independent electrical and systems contractors, apprentices, manufacturers and distributors from across the country gathered in Tampa, Fla., this fall for the Independent Electrical Contractors Inc. (IEC) 45th Annual Convention and Electric Expo 2002. There, they watched as Timothy Munn from AMF Electric, St. Louis, worked meticulously through the intricate details of the IEC National Wire-Off Competition to secure first place against fierce competition.

β€œI was excited before we ever left St. Louis because I knew we had ourselves a winner,” said Sheila Sperla, executive director for the IEC chapter of greater St. Louis. β€œTim Munn has such enthusiasm for the electrical field; it won't surprise me at all if he goes out and starts his own company in a few years,” she said.

Munn competed against 23 of the nation's best apprentices in a multifaceted competition. Each apprentice completed a 10-minute oral interview, 75-question written exam and a practical test of their abilities, which involved reading customer design requirements, installing materials and making sure the final product worked.

Industry partners instrumental in the National Wire-Off through their donation of materials and prizes included Eaton's Cutler-Hammer, Delmar Thomson Learning, Siemens Energy & Automation, Southwire Co., Square D/Schneider Electric, Thomas & Betts, Greenlee Textron, Ideal Industries, Fluke Corp. and American Technical Publishers.

Graybar Electric Co. sponsored the IEC National Wire-Off, and other contributors such as AFC Cable Systems, Carlon, 3M, Harris Corp., Extech Instruments, Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. and Klein Tools donated supplies as well. All-Phase Electric in Tampa received, stored, and transported the donated materials.

Established in 1957, IEC is a trade association made up of more than 3,200 merit shop electrical and systems contractors with 75 chapters nationwide. Headquartered in Alexandria, Va., IEC is dedicated to promoting the common interests of those engaging in the business of electrical and communications construction. IEC also works to initiate federal legislation that makes the electrical industry safer and stronger.

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