• John McGary, Woodford Sun Editor

18-year-old competes in insulation installation contest

A little more than a year after earning his high school diploma, Gage Mize was in Denver trying to become “America’s Best Installer.” That’s the name of the Nov. 8-9 competition sponsored by a leading manufacturer of fiber glass installation. Mize went to Denver with Jim DeBold, his boss at Midway Station’s Epiphany Foam Insulation. Mize, 18, said he competed against 35 people in four different brackets at a Denver exposition center. Competitors were given a 10 by 10-foot area with two walls and a ceiling on which to spray various types of fiberglass installation, and were judged on the quality of their work and the time needed to complete it. R-30 fiberglass went on the ceiling; three other types went on the walls. Mize didn’t win, but he made it through the first round and said he was happy with his finished product – if not the pace of it. “I had one of the highest quality scores there, but my time killed me. I took a lot longer than everybody else,” he said. “If I’d cut my time in half, I’d have probably made it through the final …” Asked whether his company’s customers would be more interested in the quality of work than the time needed to perform it, Mize responded, “There in Kentucky, my work would have been really good, but my time at the competition wasn’t good. I took an hour-and-a-half to do mine, but the average time was around 45 minutes.” Mize said 29 contestants went before him, so he was only a little nervous, but “after watching everybody and seeing everything, I got more comfortable with it.” Asked whether the competition was fun, Mize quickly replied, “Oh yes. I had a blast.” Mize’s portion of the contest was Friday, so he and DeBold had that evening and the days before and after to see some of the sights of the Denver area. The trip was funded by the fiberglass insulation maker that supplied the materials, Mize said. Mize, a lifelong Woodford County resident, said he’s enjoyed his 18 months at Epiphany, where he began work while still being home-schooled. “I like being part of building these houses, and I love seeing new things all the time. I’m never in the same spot. I’m always at a new job.” As for what’s ahead for him, Mize said he wasn’t sure. “I’ve thought a lot about it. I don’t know if I want to get into something else, like the steel trade, or go back to a technical school, or if I want to stick with the spray-foaming and try to work my way up (to being) an actual sprayer,” he said. “I like my job and I really enjoyed the trip.”

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