Madison, Wis.—The Department of Workforce Development, Bureau of Apprenticeship recently inducted Albert (Al) Blaha, former owner of B&B Electric in Eau Claire into the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Hall of Fame at their Biennial Apprenticeship Conference in Madison. Al served as the chairman on the Eau Claire area joint apprenticeship and training committee for nearly thirty years. He began his electrical career one year after high school graduation when he entered into the apprenticeship program.
After completing his apprenticeship in 1973. Al traveled as a journeyman electrician working in Chicago and various other locations before returning to northwestern Wisconsin. With partner Bob Bergh, Al founded B&B Electric in 1983 and within six months had doubled its workforce, incorporated the firm and began training apprentices. Al and Bob joined the National Electrical Contractors Association in 1986 and served the electrical industry through a wide variety of activities.
Al was appointed by the Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards to the Eau Claire Area Electrical JAC in 1989 and soon assumed the chair, a position he proudly held until his retirement in 2014. Al served an additional four years as an alternate JAC member attending meetings when his wisdom, wit and practical skills were most needed.
By the late 1990’s B&B Electric had become the single largest apprentice trainer in the region.
Throughout his career Al has been a vocal advocate for his trade ensuring that Chippewa Valley Technical College provided the highest quality of training to all electrical apprentices through new classrooms, lab equipment, and was an integral part of the instructor interview teams. He touched the lives of hundreds of apprentices in the Eau Claire area while on the apprenticeship committee as an active training employer and mentor.