Minnesotan named North America’s top tile apprentice

(by Michael Moore, Union Advocate) The trophy on display in Local 1’s New Hope training center may be small, but the accomplishment behind it – Brandon Peterson’s first-place finish in the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers’ International Apprentice Contest – is as grand as they come.

Peterson, a 33-year-old apprentice tile setter from Ham Lake, advanced from local and regional tiling competitions to the international contest, held Sept. 10-11 at the International Masonry Institute (IMI) in Bowie, Md. There, he placed first, staking claim to the title of North America’s top tiling apprentice.

“It was kind of surreal,” Peterson said.

The IMI hosts the apprenticeship contest just once every four years. It’s timed to coincide with the BAC’s international convention, which draws union officers and delegates from across North America, as well as members of Congress and other dignitaries.

Photo of Brandon PetersonWhile delegates conducted business, 80 top apprentices got to work, competing in the BAC’s crafts, which include bricklaying, plastering, tilesetting, stone and marble masonry, terrazzo and mosaic work and PCC, or pointing, caulking and cleaning.

“Eighty apprentices competed in eight different craft categories,” BAC Local 1 President Michael J. Cook said. “The competition was intense. There were hundreds of spectators… But Brandon held his cool and kept his head down to complete his project in superior fashion.”

Michael Moore is the editor of the Union Advocate.