This is the local man’s second trip to the event, which is hosted by the International Training Institute (ITI) for the unionized sheet metal and air conditioning industry. He is one of the top 12 sheet metal detailers in the country, a ranking determined via scores on an arduous test administered prior to the international competition.
Other finalists hail from Hawaii, Michigan, Utah, California, Illinois, Oregon, Ohio, Oklahoma, Kansas and New York.
As a sheet metal detailer, Fleming designs complicated, behind-the-walls systems in buildings.
Using the Benchmark building information modeling software, he works to ensure every piece, length of HVAC ductwork and fitting is built to exact measurements and standards.
Fleming was drawn to the profession early on after being introduced to it by his step-dad, an architectural sheet metal worker.
After high school, he enrolled in an apprenticeship program where he learned about the different aspects of the trade.
“I liked the challenge of being a detailer,” says Fleming. “It’s like doing an adult puzzle.”
The local man, a 1993 Bothell High grad, has been a detailer for the past 14 years. He is the principal consultant for RYNOTEK, a division of Fleming Consulting Services Inc.
Currently, he is working on a project for the Boeing 777 jet airliner.
Fleming is excited to return to the Annual International Sheet Metal Competition and says, “It’s great to be a part of the top 12 again and it will be interesting to see what ITI’s Benchmark staff put together this year.”
He adds, “I really wanted to win last time,” he comments. “The prize was a fully loaded truck. This year, it’s a new Harley Davidson.”
Fleming explains that he competes for the challenge and a chance to win the grand prize, but that he also participates in the event because it’s a great networking opportunity for him.
The competition, which takes place over two 8-hour days, is extremely challenging, according to Fleming.
He says, “You don’t know exactly what you’ll be doing until you get there and so you really can’t expect anything going in, other than the fact it’ll be difficult.”
He adds, “Each contestant gets a 3-D work station and you’re given a set of plans for an HVAC system and directions as to what to do. The plans are different on each day — completely different projects. You’re judged on things like accuracy and feasibility to build. Any one thing you do or don’t do can affect your score.”
To keep on top of his game, Fleming constantly studies software changes to determine if there are methods he can change to improve efficiency.
He also tries to stay current on building codes. “It’s important for me to keep up on what’s happening in the industry as much as possible,” he comments. “But, it’s hard to do this when you’re working on a job, so in between projects is the best time for me to get caught up.” The local man is also a part-time instructor at the Western Washington Local #66 Sheet Metal Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee.