Metro Area Craftsmen Advance to 2017 National Craft Championship

Cook, Goodman, Starnes and Walls to compete in Florida for national title

RIDGELAND ― Four metro area craftsmen were recently recognized at the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation’s awards day luncheon for their accomplishments at the 2016 State Craft Competition.

Winners and their competition categories include:

  • Joshua Cook of Pearl, employed by Upchurch Plumbing – Commercial Plumbing
  • Michael Goodman of Pelahatchie, employed by Adco Electric – Commercial Residential
  • Chase Starnes of Terry, employed by Buford Plumbing – HVAC
  • Jonathan Blake Walls of Brandon, employed by Synergy Electric – Industrial Motor Controls

All competitors are enrolled in the MCEF apprenticeship programs and took written tests corresponding to their trade categories to qualify for the state competition. During the day-long contest, competitors were assigned projects and awarded points based on how well they completed tasks. Competitors with the highest scores will move on to the 2017 National Craft Championship in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The awards day luncheon was held May 6 in Pearl, where MCEF also honored craftsmen who competed in the 2016 national championship: Christopher Scott Berryhill of Pearl with Climate Masters, William Michael Farmer of Brandon with Sutherland Electric, Ben Graves of Madison with Upchurch Plumbing, and Lee Michael Johnson of Madison with Total Electric. In addition, MCEF recognized the state’s top-performing career and technical education students and winners of the MCEF and Mississippi State Board of Contractors scholarship program.


“Construction companies throughout the country, as well as here in Mississippi, are gearing up to hire more workers ― if only they can find them,” said Mike Barkett, president of MCEF. “This shortage of skilled labor is having a negative impact on the construction industry and causing the loss of millions of jobs each year. At the Mississippi Construction Education Foundation, we’re working to address this crisis by encouraging interest in technical-based careers and providing training, resources and recognition to help build a ready workforce for Mississippi.”

The mission of the non-profit MCEF is to promote careers, recruit capable individuals and train a quality workforce for the construction industry in the state of Mississippi. MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades. Learn more about MCEF at

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