Klein Tools has selected six regional winners for its annual Electrician of the Year award. The finalists demonstrated professional achievement, safety excellence and community dedication.
On Oct. 8, the grand prize winner will receive $2,500 a year in free Klein Tools products for 10 years, totaling $25,000. Each of the remaining regional winners will be awarded Klein Tools’ Ultimate Garage Package and other company products. The six winners were selected by a council of company employees who voted on a winner from each of the Northwest, Southwest, Central North, Central South, Southeast and Northeast regions.
“Each year we are amazed at the quality of applications we receive for the Electrician of the Year contest,” said Greg Palese, vice president of marketing at Klein Tools. “We are pleased to recognize these six men as people who give back to the trade in profound ways, prioritize safety and training and make a meaningful impact on their communities.”
The 2016 Electrician of the Year Regional Winners are:
Region 1 “Northwest”
Shelby Kytola is an electrician from Albany, Ore. who loves challenging himself with new tasks and prioritizes careful planning. He determines the steps, equipment and the risk involved with both the environment and tools needed to keep himself and others safe on the jobsite now, and in the future, by ensuring the work is properly and safely completed. When he is not at work, Kytola and his family improve and help the lives of children in Oregon through foster care and adoption. He also spends time working with Habitat for Humanity and volunteering at church.
Region 2 “Southwest”
Eric Simmons has been an electrician for more than 20 years and is currently licensed as a master electrician, electrical contractor or electrical administrator in 15 states. Currently, he resides in Las Vegas where he works for one of the largest electrical contractors in the nation as a senior project manager. Simmons is regularly called on to run the most complicated and technically challenging projects and has had several of his projects win regional and national awards. He dedicates a significant amount of time to learn and apply proper safety practices as well as teach others about safety. He is certified by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP) as both a Safety Trained Supervisor-Construction (STS-C) and as a Construction Health and Safety Technician (CHST). Simmons is also an authorized OSHA outreach trainer for construction, MSHA Surface Miner Safety Trainer and an American Heart Association First Aid/CPR/AED instructor. He regularly teaches safety classes for his employer as well as for other organizations throughout the community. He also volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and the Associated Builders and Contractors apprenticeship program, where he is an instructor and guest speaker. Simmons enjoys judging various competitions where apprentices and students display their job skills. He has also led several collection drives for Street Teens, a nonprofit organization that helps homeless and at risk teens in the Las Vegas area.
Region 3 “Central North”
Bill Budz of Schaumburg, Ill. is an electrical instructor at HVAC Technical Institute in Chicago. After 15 years as a journeyman electrician, he joined the school at the inception of the electrical program and helped develop its curriculum and program. Budz has also earned his master electrician license and certificates for commercial maintenance, electrical maintenance, refrigeration and air conditioning service. He is also OSHA 500 trained. Throughout his career, he learned to view safety as a creed. When he was on job sites, he was often named the steward and was responsible for all safety related-issues. As an electrical instructor, he ensures students understand the hazards and dangers of electricity and the necessity for safe work practices. Outside of the electrical industry, Budz volunteers at the local branch of Feed My Starving Children. He is also a substitute teacher in his local school district and enjoys speaking to all students about a job in the trades.
Region 4 “Central South”
John Ellington is an electrician in Chatfield, Texas (near Corsicana, Texas) where he successfully completes a wide range of jobs from wiring difficult boat docks to wiring entire commercial buildings. On top of being a journeyman electrician, he works on sprinkler systems, installs Excede Satellite internet and video surveillance systems. With his many different projects, Ellington places a priority on safety for himself and his team and provides multiple safety devices to ensure everyone is safe while on the job. He is also a volunteer fire chief and a member of the Corsicana Emergency Corps. He is a former fireman and police officer.
Region 5 “Southeast”
Randall Summers from Arthurdale, W.V. has been in the electrical field for over 29 years and holds his master electrician’s license. After completing electrical trade school, he started his own electrical company. After three years of running all aspects of his business, Summers wanted to expand his knowledge of the electrical system and finally found his true calling as a lineman. He is most proud that even though the job of a lineman is extremely dangerous, he has never had a lost time accident. He enjoys working safely alongside his coworkers in order to complete each and every job without injuries or accidents. Summers has received the Excellence of Safety award every year from his employer for the last 10 years. He has also done a great deal of volunteer work in his community such as helping in the restoration of Arthurdale’s historic buildings, improving the local school gym and updating the elementary school playground to make it a safer place for kids. One of his favorite volunteer activities has been demonstrating the art of blacksmithing to local school children and tourists.
Region 6 “Northeast”
John Levesque has been a licensed journeyman and master electrician for 37 years and owns an electrical contracting business in Adams, Mass. He works on all projects including residential, commercial and industrial including medium and high voltage. He values education so that jobs are done right and makes sure his employees and himself are trained and certified in the many different safety aspects of the electrical industry. This ensures his employees return home safe to their families at the end of each work day. When not running his business, Levesque volunteers his time with Habitat for Humanity providing his electrical expertise building new homes and remodeling old for local families. He also volunteers with his church to help raise money for the homeless and disadvantaged, both locally and internationally, who cannot afford sufficient meals for themselves and their families.