IDEAL Elite Tradesman Championship
On November 9th 2019, IDEAL Electrical concluded their fourth annual IDEAL Tradesman Championship by crowning the first ever International Champion.
Tom Matic, a loyal Middy’s Dandenong customer, took home the title of "World’s Best Electrician". We recently caught up with Tom to get a rundown of his experience.
Middy's: How did you first come to hear about the Ideal Elite Tradesman National Championship?
Tom Matic: In 2018 I walked into Middy’s Dandenong branch and saw a flyer promoting the Championship.Andrew Donahue (Dandenong Sales Representative) challenged me to try and qualify for a free trip for two to Orlando, Florida to attend the Ideal USA National Championship that year. I’m a pretty competitive person, so I gave it my best and ended up winning the National Challenge which subsequently got me the trip to the States to witness the event.
M: How was your experience watching the USA National Championship?
TM: I was most impressed by the scale of the competition and the excitement of both the competitors and the spectators. The event had a friendly, community feel about it. It was a fantastic opportunity to network with electricians from around the world and I keep in contact to this day with some of the people that I met.
M: In 2019, the Ideal Elite Tradesman Championship went global for the first time, allowing Fit-Off Winners from China and Australia to join in on the event with the Americans and Canadians. Impressively, you won for a second consecutive time and were sent to the big stage to represent Australia in the professional division. Tell us all about it.
TM: It was great to go for a second time and this time to compete rather than spectate. I went with a contingency of 14 Australians, including my apprentice Dario Dautanac. I wanted to take him so he could experience the event and hopefully learn from it like I had. I was actually the last to finish out of the contestants, though still within the required time frame. The support from my fellow ‘Aussies’ was sensational and really spurred me on. Judges from each of the four competing nations then assessed the contestants' finished boards based on time taken and quality of workmanship. Given that I was last to finish I didn’t expect to win, however I was still announced the winner due to the quality of my fit-off. It took awhile to sink in that I had actually won, it was completely surreal.
M: Sounds amazing Tom. We bet you’ve received a bit of attention as a result of winning, is that the case?
TM: It’s been great. I’ve received a fair few congratulatory phone calls and people have had a bit of banter with me about it. I was Marko Uzarevic’s (Dandenong Branch Manager) apprentice years ago and he likes to remind me that he taught me all that I know. The whole team at Middy’s Dandenong is great and looks after us really well. I’ve been a customer there for over 12 years.
M: We really appreciate your time Tom. Lastly, will you be competing again, and
do you encourage others to give it a go?
TM: I’ll definitely be competing again this year and I implore others to as well. At the end of the day, it’s more than a competition, it’s a networking opportunity. You’re able to get to know like-minded people, build relationships and potentially work together in the future.
This article was originally featured in our quarterly Middy's MAG #29 Mar - May ’20 Edition. Read Latest Issue