During the National Craft Championships, Mark Koch of G.E. Insulation, Sanford, Mich., was faced with many obstacles that made his chances of placing in the competition look slim. But Koch didn’t let that stop him. By the end of the week, he was being called to the front of the stage to be named the 2015 Insulation Gold Medalist. In the Q&A below, see what Koch thinks about the industry, his career in construction and his experience at the National Craft Championships.
Q1: How did you get started in construction?
A1- I took a building trades class at the skill center for two years while in high school. I liked working with my hands and heard about the job from a friend.
Q2: What was the most important thing you learned while you were an apprentice?
A2- The most important thing I learned as an apprentice is to manage time well and work to accomplish everything in a timely manner while also producing your best work.
Q3: What is the most rewarding thing about being in the construction industry?
A3- The most rewarding thing about being in the construction industry is being able to work and meet all sorts of people from different places and lifestyles at the same time.
Q4: What would you tell to students who are unsure of the career path they want to take?
A4- I would tell people who are unsure to talk with people and companies who have experience in the industry and shadowing them if possible.
Q5: How did you prepare for the National Craft Championships?
A5- I prepared for the National Craft Championships by studying the things that I do on a daily basis and other tasks that we occasionally encounter in my trade.
Q6: What did it mean to you personally and to your career to be able to compete at the National Craft Championships?
A6- It meant a lot to be able to compete in the competition. Knowing that what I have learned has given me skills that put me on the same level with the best in the industry is a great feeling.
Q7: What did you enjoy most about participating in the National Craft Championships?
A7- Being able to meet and talk with other competitors from around the states and hearing what they do on a daily basis that is different from my own work.
Q8: Was there anything about the competition and the National Craft Championships experience that surprised you?
A8- The size of building needed for so many competitors and all of the hotels to accommodate them surprised me the most.
Q9: What was the biggest challenge you faced during the National Craft Championships
A9: The biggest challenge I faced with the craft competition was getting food poisoning the night before the hands on portion of the test and being sick throughout the whole day of working on the competition.
Q10: What were you thinking when you heard your name called for the gold medal?
A10: When I heard my name called for the gold medal I was proud of what I had made myself go through and not stopping when it was the much easier way to go.