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A dozen local residents graduate apprentice school

Submitted Photo
Pictured in front from right to left are Sean Good, Jeff Mathis, James Stone, Joe Medbery, and Jesse Wassom. Picuted in back are Jacob Barnes, Tyler Hinshaw, Tyler Walden, Jordan Park, Scott Ettling, Brennan Kelm, and Harlan Gilmore.

After completing five years of schooling and training, 12 members of UA Local 149 were recently honored at a graduation ceremony recognizing their advancement from Apprentices to Journeymen.

They graduated after completing 1,700 hours on the job and 240 hours in the classroom in each of those five years. As Journeymen, they will now have a greater voice in the union, improved job security and, thanks to the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the union, a starting compensation package of more than $70 an hour.

“We are incredibly proud of the work done by each of these members and the way they have dedicated themselves to being the very best at what they do,” said Derek Reedy, Joint Apprenticeship Committee Training Director. “We know they will continue to proudly represent our union for many years to come.”

UA Local 149’s Class of 2022 are:
* Sean Good                         
Davis Houk Mechanical

* Jeff Mathis                       
A&R Mechanical

* James Stone                   
Davis Houk Mechanical

* Joe Medbery                   
Xtreme Mechanical

* Jesse Wassom               
Gibson City         
Davis Houk Mechanical

* Jacob Barnes                  
Gibson City         
Pipeworks Inc.

* Tyler 
Gibson City         
Reliable Mechanical

* Tyler Walden                   
Reliable Mechanical

* Jordan Park                    
University of Illinois

* Scott Ettling                     
Reliable Mechanical

* Brennan Kelm                 
Reliable Mechanical

* Harlan Gilmore                
A&R Mechanical

Of note, Mathis and Good applied to join Local 149’s Apprentice program in 2017 after serving in the U.S. Army.

In addition, each year, union leaders select two outstanding graduates to receive the Meislahn Award. This year’s recipients are Gilmore, a plumber, and Mathis, a pipefitter. The award is named after Richard Meislahn, a longtime supporter of organized labor and of Local 149’s Joint Apprenticeship Training Program, who spent decades leading Reliable Mechanical in Savoy.

Local 149 represents more than 600 East Central Illinois residents who work at more than 40 local companies and the University of Illinois, providing plumbing, heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, steam, industrial process, boiler and medical-gas piping services across the area. 

To learn more about UA Local 149’s Apprentice program, please visit

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