With over 23 years of experience as an OPCMIA Cement Mason, Gerald Kriskovich stepped into the Executive Director role for the National Plastering Industry’s Joint Apprenticeship Trust Fund (NPIJATF) in 2017. The progression through his career seemed to be no different than any other hardworking OPCMIA member. He began as an Apprentice with Local 241/797 in Reno, Nevada and climbed through the ranks, becoming a Journeyman, Foreman, and Superintendent. However, his career made a transition when he accepted a new opportunity as a cement mason instructor for the NPIJATF in 2006 at the Sierra Nevada Job Corps Center in Reno. From the beginning of his career with Job Corps, Gerald found himself passionate about empowering young men and women to learn a skilled trade and placing those same students in a meaningful career. With a family of his own to support, he whole heartedly backed “an honest day’s work, for an honest day’s pay.” Moving forward, Gerald is looking to continue to share his passion for training to help the OPCMIA/NPIJATF achieve new levels of growth and development. Gerald is married to Lisa Kriskovich and has two children Miquela and Eric.
South Central Regional Coordinator
A cement mason with 24 years of experience, Brian Fierros graduated from his OPCMIA apprenticeship in 1997 and is a member of OPCMIA Local #394 in Phoenix. He was a Job Corps instructor for five years before becoming regional coordinator one year ago. “As an instructor, Job Corps impacted me both personally and professionally,” he said. “I am passionate about being a cement mason and have now had the great opportunity to teach the craft to our youth. One of the biggest rewards is to hear from my former students, thanking me for teaching them and hearing how positive and meaningful their lives are now.”
California Regional Coordinator
A 1996 graduate of the Sierra Nevada Job Corps Plastering Program, Alex J. Garcia serves as the OPCMIA Job Corps’ California Regional Coordinator. After completing Job Corps, he enrolled in the San Francisco Plastering Local # 66 Apprenticeship program, becoming a journeyman in 2000. In addition to working as a plasterer for the past 22 years, Mr. Garcia has served as a plastering instructor at various OPCMIA training facilities until he was named to his current post in 2018. “As a former student in the [Job Corps] program, I understand the significance of not missing an opportunity for a enthusiastic accolade and a conscious effort in a teachable moment,” he said. “I began to see my own self worth as a young adult … because of merited praise and being introduced to different perspectives. … I reflect on situations that I have experienced … as a Job Corps student and instructor to aid in my interactions.”
Pacific Northwest Regional Coordinator
A graduate of the Pine Ridge Job Corps plastering program and of Local 224’s Apprenticeship program in San Jose, California, Maybelle has been a proud OPCMIA member for the past 34 years. She was an instructor with the National Plastering Industry’s Joint Apprenticeship Trust Fund for 23 years before becoming Pacific Northwest Coordinator in 2014. “When I became an instructor in April of 1991 as I was able to start making a difference in the lives that were just beginning to decide to get into the work force,” Maybelle said. “I was able to help the youth make the necessary changes in their lives to get started on a path that would lead them to a good career. Most youth used the training that they got in Job Corps as a stepping stone to a better life style than what they grew up in.”
Midwest Regional Coordinator
A 2007 graduate of the Northern California Cement Mason Apprenticeship program, Ricky Lipton has been a member of OPCMIA Local 300 for 14 years. He worked as an instructor for the National Plastering Industry’s Joint Apprenticeship Trust Fund from 2011 to 2015, and since then he has been Midwest Regional Coordinator. “Job Corps has allowed me to work with at risk youth and impact their lives in a positive way,” he said.
Northeast Coordinator /
Eastern Regional Manager
Mike McSain has 20 years of experience as a cement mason, including 18 as an instructor. “Connecting with students to help them recognize their abilities is my goal,” he said. “I have watched students who had little knowledge and confidence in themselves realize their strengths and start believing in what they could accomplish. Because of Job Corps/NPIJATF, I found my purpose and my way of giving back by improving the lives of students that I had the privilege to instruct and mentor. Many of them are now employed in life-improving careers, many within the OPCMIA Locals.”
Rocky Mountain Regional Coordinator / Western Regional Manager
With 23 years of service as a cement mason with OPCMIA Local 797, and another 4.5 years with the National Plastering Industry’s Joint Apprenticeship Trust Fund, Jeff Wagner brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the Job Corps program. Working with Job Corps students “has given me a feeling of accomplishment that I have shared my knowledge with our younger generation and to know I have made a difference in their lives,” he said.
Southeast Regional Coordinator
Stanley Ziel became a cement mason more than 11 years ago, calling it “One of the best decisions I ever made in my life.” He went on to serve as an instructor with the National Plastering Industry’s Joint Apprenticeship Trust Fund for four years and was named Southeast Regional Coordinator over one year ago. “When I started my life as a instructor with Job Corps, it was a great opportunity for me,” he said. “I always wanted to be involved with struggling youth, as I was once in a lot of their shoes as well. I look at each student and try to find ways to reach them. After four years of being an instructor I was blessed with the opportunity to become the Southeast Field Coordinator for the NPIJAFT/OPCMIA. I was eager to take on this role and have been greatly honored to have the title and wish continued success.”