Team USA to compete in global Water Innovation Challenge

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CHICAGO, IL, April 28, 2014 -- A team of young U.S. volunteers have been chosen to compete in the upcoming WorldSkills Foundation Water Innovation Challenge, which will be held June 3-5 in Singapore during International Water Week. The challenge is a pilot program designed to discover innovative "ways in which to create and control water supplies in specific international community environments" -- the theme of the event.

The Water Innovative Challenge is comprised of two parts. The first involves the design and documentation of a water solution to meet customer specifications and to demonstrate the team's skills in the use of a range of water technologies. The second involves a range of demonstrations and practical components related to plumbing and sanitation in a community setting.

Backed by WorldSkills USA along with the American Society of Plumbing Engineers (ASPE), International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO), Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), and Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association (PHCC), the challengers will participate and collaborate on a series of hands-on design challenges.

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. Accordingly, 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, Mich. The ASPE Board of Directors was impressed with Torres' wide range of skills in plumbing system design, as well as her enthusiasm for helping conserve precious water resources.

The other members of the team are:

  • Nicholas Michalenko, a licensed journeyman plumber with Rida Plumbing in Worthington, Mass. 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, as well as 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, N.C. 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, Mass. 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.

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.

About ASPE

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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