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Meet Craig Childress, 2023 Plumbing National Championship Finalist

ETCS graphic with 2023 plumbing finalist craig childress

This year, the Elite Trades Championship Series (ETCS) expanded its suite of skilled trades competitions with the addition of the inaugural Plumbing National Championship. While the ETCS has held competitions in HVAC, auto and electrical trades, this new championship celebrates and showcases the exceptional skills of plumbers across the country, and SharkBite is proud to be the category sponsor.

About the plumbing competition

There are three rounds to the championship. After hundreds entered the competition by taking a 3-minute quiz designed by Florida PHCC, 20 semi-finalists advanced to Round 2, which included a timed, at-home plumbing challenge. From there, only five plumbers emerged and will head to Tampa for the finals, which will be televised on CBS Sports Network on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. ET.

The finalists

Ahead of the program, get to know the top 5 plumbers in the nation. One of them, Craig Childress, works at Boston University in Massachusetts and has been in the field for 21 years. He’s also competing in the HVAC competition as ETCS’s first ever crossover competitor. Get to know how he became a plumber, his tips for success in the trade, and how he feels knowing he’s one of the best plumbers in the U.S.

1. Tell us about how you first got into the trade.

I went to a vocational high school and was able to try a lot of different skilled trades my freshman year.  I enjoyed plumbing the most after trying all of the shops. Using the torches to solder really caught my interest and pulled me toward plumbing.

2. What is your philosophy for achieving a successful career in plumbing?

Continue to improve your knowledge. The plumbing field is always changing, and the more you know, the more valuable you are in the field. Take classes and watch other professionals work to help your own professional growth.

3. What is something you wish you knew about the trade that upcoming plumbers should know?

Taking care of your body is very important. Make sure you use the proper equipment — knee pads, safety glasses, gloves, etc. The trades are wonderful, but they can be hard on your body if you don’t take care of it properly.

4. How does it feel to be considered one of the best plumbers in the U.S.?

It’s an honor to be in the finals going to Tampa. I’m very excited about moving on in the competition and look forward to competing against the other four competitors.  

We all give a lot to the trades, and it’s amazing that we get to go to Tampa and celebrate the men and women in the skilled trades.

5. What’s your go to artist(s) you listen to on the job?

Pretty much anything from the ‘90s.

You can follow Craig on Instagram at @craig_plumber513. Watch Craig and the other four finalists on CBS Sports Network on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. ET.

Learn more about the first-ever Plumbing National Championship.