PEARL ― Eight of the state’s top-performing craftsmen are being recognized as winners following their performances in the recent Mississippi Construction Education Foundation’s statewide craft competition.

Michael Bradley (Upchurch Plumbing) of New Albany earned top honors in the plumbing category with Eric Barthel (J.L. Roberts) of Lena finishing second.

Claiming first in the electrical commercial wiring competition was Daniel Banks (ADCO Electric) of Jackson followed by second and third place winners Josh Luby (Synergy Electric) of Brandon and Dustin Barnett (Synergy Electric) of Florence. Aaron Nowatka (Whitfield Electric) of Hernando finished fourth.

Bailey Allred (Synergy Electric) of Braxton took first place in the motor controls category with Tyler Dewey (Synergy Electric) of Bay Springs finishing second.

Competitors in the state competition were enrolled in the MCEF apprenticeship programs and took written tests corresponding to their trade categories to qualify for the state competition. During the daylong contest, participants were assigned projects and awarded points based on how well they completed tasks.

All were awarded cash prizes and tools with Bradley, Banks, and Allred advancing to the 2022 National Craft Championship in San Antonio, Texas.

"Participants in our annual craft competition are serious trade professionals as well as tough competitors," said Mike Barkett, MCEF president. "Their employers also deserve recognition for supporting professional development programs and helping ensure that Mississippi has a highly skilled workforce to support the state's growing construction and manufacturing industries."

MCEF is a non-profit educational foundation that provides NCCER craft training and credentialing in more than 100 career and technical programs across the state. The foundation’s mission is to train individuals for the construction and manufacturing industries in Mississippi.

MCEF also offers workforce training and credentialing in construction, industrial maintenance and manufacturing trades. Learn more about MCEF at