A 2014 Ponoka graduate now attending Red Deer College recently won gold medals in cabinet making at the Skills Canada Nationals and Skills Canada Alberta Provincials.
This was Dustin Sejdl’s fourth time competing in Skills Canada and his third time at nationals; he took silver his first year and also won gold last year.
However, this was Sejdl’s first time competing at the post-secondary level.
The national competition took place May 28 and 29 in Saskatoon, SK.
“There I had a bit more confidence, the project’s very similar,” Sejdl explained, referring to the two foyer style benches he made at both levels of competition.
The event lasted 13 hours, over the two days, pitting Sejdl against eight of the top post-secondary level cabinetmakers in Canada. “I knew I could do it,” he said.
After the initial 13 hours, an extra 45 minutes had to be tacked onto the competition for the competitors. “Or I would have been the only one finished,” Sejdl explained.
During the first day of competition, the nine competitors raced neck-and-neck, but on day two Sejdl pulled out in front of the masses. “I was quite far ahead. I had my bench together before anyone had anything together,” he recalled.
Sejdl says being so far ahead was a little worrisome but he was confident in his abilities to produce a top quality bench in the allotted time.
“It was really rewarding,” said Sejdl, referring to his gold medal. “It’s good to know I can achieve that.”
Earlier, Sejdl competed in provincials in Edmonton May 13 and 14.
“This year it was a little bit more difficult, jumping up to post-secondary,” said Sejdl.
With other competitors in their third and fourth year of schooling, Sejdl says he was hoping just to medal.
Sejdl first gained his love of working with wood from his father but it was his former Ponoka Secondary Campus teacher Dick Unruh who really fostered his passion. “He really got me going with it; shared with me most of what I know.”
Sejdl’s parents also put in a lot of support to his Skills Canada dreams. “My dad lat me work in the garage with all his tools and gave me the lumber. My mom drove to Saskatchewan and brought my project home.”
Sejdl’s boss at Vleeming Construction Ltd, Carlo Vleeming, was also quite supportive of his Skills Canada aspirations, having gone through the competition himself. “I know the stresses he was going through. He put in lots of time in practicing behind the scenes,” he said.
“Whatever he needed I was willing to help,” he added.