FMHS trades team takes another challenge title

The winners of Carl A. Nelson & Company’s 4th annual High School Skills Challenge, from left with their teacher, Clint Kobelt, were Fort Madison High School’s Owen Kruse, Kane Williams and Trey Edwards. Courtesy photo.

BURLINGTON, Iowa — In recognition of Construction Week 2020, Carl A. Nelson & Company conducted its fourth annual High School Skills Challenge on Oct. 8 to give local high school construction trades students an opportunity to bring classroom lessons into real-world practice.

Participating were Burlington High School, Mediapolis High School and two teams from Fort Madison High School. The event typically includes five schools with teams rotating through a series of skill stations, but was scaled back in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first-place team from Fort Madison High School, led by instructor Clint Kobelt, included Owen Kruse, Kane Williams and Trey Edwards. It was the third win in four years, and the second in a row, by an FMHS team.

Students spread out on the Carl A. Nelson & Company grounds to construct steel angle platforms with wood stairs. Skills being demonstrated included welding, carpentry, figuring stairs and cutting stringers.

The annual program also brought high school students into direct contact with local professionals in the construction industry to learn about career opportunities in fields such as the construction trades.

The prize for first-place was a $400 Lowe’s gift card to support the school’s construction trades program, while each team member received a new 35-foot tape measure. All participants received a Carl A. Nelson & Company 2020 Skills Challenge hooded sweatshirt. Students and teachers also were treated to lunch.

Carl A. Nelson & Company was founded in Burlington, Iowa, in 1913 by a Swedish immigrant who built his reputation on fair dealing and quality construction. Today’s employee-owners of the 107-year-old company work hard to live up to that history by adhering to a pledge of Fairness and Honesty, Quality Workmanship and Service Second to None.

Construction Week 2020, which is held annually during the first full week of October, is sponsored by Master Builders of Iowa. To learn more, visit

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