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Team USA Members Selected for the Water Innovation Challenge

ASPE, IAPMO, MCAA, PHCC, and WorldSkills USA partner to support up-and-coming professionals in this international competition.

The American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC), and WorldSkills USA are financially supporting a team of young U.S. volunteers to compete in the upcoming WorldSkills Foundation Water Innovation Challenge, which will be held June 3–5 in Singapore during International Water Week. William N. Erickson, an ASPE member and a Vice President of ASPE's Research Foundation, is leading the multi-disciplined team, which is comprised of students and professionals under the age of 26. Sloan Valve recently made a generous donation to help sponsor the team.
To find the plumbing engineer member of the team, ASPE asked its membership for volunteers, and from several very qualified applicants, the ASPE Board of Directors selected Judith Torres, GE, an associate member of ASPE who works as a Graduate Mechanical Engineer for Progressive AE in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The ASPE Board of Directors was extremely impressed with Judith's wide range of skills in plumbing system design, as well as her enthusiasm for broadening her professional and personal horizons and helping conserve our precious water resources. Judith traveled to La Pila, Guatemala in 2012 as part of a potential Engineers Without Borders student chapter project, where she performed preliminary site surveys for a reliable and cost-effective drinking water system for the small town. She has participated in other competitions, most notably as part of the Chicago team that won the Midwest regional portion of the Construction Challenge sponsored by Imagination Destination and Con Expo.
The other members of the team are:

  • Nicholas Michalenko, a licensed journeyman plumber with Rida Plumbing in Worthington, Massachusetts. Nicholas has won numerous awards for his trade skills since 2008, including medals in the SkillsUSA district, state, and national competitions, first place on the written exam and sixth place overall at the SkillsUSA nationals in 2009, and a silver medal at the WorldSkills Americas Competition in San Paulo, Brazil in 2012. He participated in the WorldSkills Competition in Leipzig, Germany in 2013 in the Plumbing and Heating competition.
  • Sarah Parker, an advertising and design student at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. Sarah also participated in the 2013 WorldSkills Competition in Leipzig representing the United States in the Graphic Design competition. She won the right to compete by winning the high school gold medal in Advertising Design during the SkillsUSA Championships in June 2010.
  • Tim Murphy, an Apprentice Plumber at Boulanger's Plumbing & Heating in Easthampton, Massachusetts. Tim participated in the SkillsUSA Competition from 2010 to 2012, winning district gold, silver, and bronze medals, a state gold medal, and a national bronze medal in the Plumbing competition.
    "I am extremely excited about and encouraged by Team USA; we are in great shape," Erickson says. "We have solid technicians with loads of experience in these types of competitions and plumbing in general. They are genuinely enthusiastic about the competition."
    The international teams competing in the Water Innovation Challenge will participate in a series of hands-on design challenges and practical tasks. During three days of intense competition, the teams will develop a series of real and innovative solutions for emerging water and sanitation problems in two developing countries: Nepal and Bangladesh. Solutions created during the Water Innovation Challenge will be implemented by the winning team in the WorldSkills Foundation's Nepal or Bangladesh "Sanitation Studio" program—a partnership between the Australian NGO Healthabitat and the WorldSkills Foundation.

ASPE is the only professional organization devoted to the training and certification of plumbing engineers and designers. ASPE and its 6,000 worldwide members are dedicated to protecting the health, welfare, and safety of the public through the dissemination of technical data and information to expand the base of knowledge among plumbing engineers, designers, contractors, code officials, inspectors, and manufacturers. For more information, visit ASPE.org.

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