Tommy Carducci on his 2019 IDEAL Nationals Experience

EIN Carducci IDEAL 400

Feb 28, 2020

Tommy Carducci is a 14-year industry veteran working with Seneca Electrical and was one of 18 Canadians to compete at Ideal Industries’ National Championship event held in Orlando, Florida.

Held from November 7-9 and televised on ESPN 2, the Ideal National Championships gives electricians a chance to display their skills in a high-level competition. The event expanded internationally for the first time this year — over 55,000 electricians from 5 countries attempted to qualify for a chance to compete in the championship event. Last year’s event was the first to feature electricians from outside the United States. For 2019 they increased the number of Canadian qualifiers, and extended the competition to Mexico, Australia and China.

Tommy began his career with Seneca Electrical, a company headed off by his uncle, after four years he left to explore other areas of the industry. He would eventually return to Seneca as a first-year journeyman when they were looking for some extra help.

2019 was Tommy’s first year down in at the National event. In 2018 he was narrowly edged out by Paul Hannania, who was the Canada West representative at the National Championships.

“I was in first place the entire tournament until the very last day, and Paul literally snuck in front of me.”

For 2019, Ideal Industries expanded the number of Canadians eligible to qualify. So, Tommy didn’t have to worry about getting knocked out by Paul, who ended up as the fastest Canadian both years.

The competition was great for Carducci, “I’ve been doing this for so long that with my apprentices, I usually race them doing plugs. So, we’d race all the time at work and one of the reps from EWEL –  the wholesale we go to – knew I used to do stuff like that, as soon as she heard about the Ideal event she called and got me into it.”

EWEL held qualifying events at a couple of their branches, where Tommy qualified.

“It’s something different,” he said of the National event, “I played soccer for most of my career, so it was nice to compete again.”

“They took care of us and we got a nice goodie bag – and the actual experience coming out with all the lights and smoke, it was really cool that they were putting that much effort into it.”

It’s a bit unusual to be doing electrical work in the middle of an arena with people cheering and cameras everywhere. “And it’s not an easy competition by any means, they make it difficult,” Carducci commented, “they give you an easy task, but the way they arrange things, they don’t make it easy on you. Like if I had to wire that up here, it would take me 10 minutes, there it took me 40.”

When it came to strategy, Tommy said you want to “figure out the task that needs to be done and pay attention to the little details of where they wanted stuff,” he said, adding, “As soon as we got to go out to look at [the set up], in my head I was already going through where I’m pulling my wire and what task I was going to complete first, because you want to use a tool once, best as you can.”

“I tried to picture it done, so that when I start going you just go with it. And that’s kind of what I do when I’m wiring houses.”

Seneca does a lot of residential work, which has included some interesting new builds. They are a small outfit but will take on some large projects. Although, Tommy noted, “with the economy the way it is we’re taking on anything we can.” Whether it’s renos, condos, or 15,000 sq. ft. new builds like they did for a couple former Edmonton Oiler’s.

When it comes to the overall experience of the Ideal Nationals, Tommy said, “the nice thing is because Ideal is family owned – just seeing everyone there with their families, all the competitors, everyone is shaking hands. You’re there to compete, but once that’s done everyone is having beers together and it’s just a really cool atmosphere.”

As for next year, he said, “Oh yeah, I’ve already been planning a few things, things you need to practice.” He said, “definitely working a little more with Cat-5, putting ends on, of course in Canada we use B for everything, they want A, so I really had no idea – I just did B [during the competition] because I literally didn’t know which wires to put where. So definitely going to sharpen up on that and some pipe bending. Because with residential I don’t get to do too much, I know how but it’s just getting that muscle memory back.”

“And honestly, I’m probably going to do some squats because, my legs after the competition, I couldn’t believe how much they hurt.”

The 2020 IDEAL Nationals will be held from November 4th to 6th at Music City Centre, located in downtown Nashville, Tennessee.

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