On Friday December 1st, the stunning Sparkling Ice Castle float, created by Independent Electrical Contractors Rocky Mountain (IECRM), made its debut at the 43rd Annual 9NEWS Parade of Lights. Three hundred of IECRM’s electrical and energy professionals and their families watched and cheered together from the IECRM Annual Holiday Party, held downtown at the Hyatt Regency on the parade route.
IECRM members and students designed and built the Sparkling Ice Castle float as the newest addition to the 9NEWS Parade of Lights in more than 20 years. IECRM’s float celebrates the hard work of the men and women in the electrical and renewable energy industry, illuminates the importance of skilled trade workers to our economy and communities, and shines the light on skilled trades as a viable and sustainable career path for our future generations.
The Sparkling Ice Castle float – a dreamy winter scene of brilliance and wonder, utilizing state-of-the-art and energy-efficient lighting features – is a true engineering marvel that features a splendid array of color changing LED lighting, fiber optics, and artistic design applications. “Who better than an electrical trade association and an electrical trade school to design the newest addition to Denver’s float line-up that will illuminate the wintery streets of Denver for the Parade of Lights?” said Katie Shobe, IECRM Marketing Manager who came up with the idea that IECRM should participate in the Annual 9NEWS Parade of Lights.
“We hope that our float captures the attention of many men, women, minorities, and military veterans who are looking for a rewarding career,” said IECRM CEO Marilyn Akers Stansbury. “It’s a really great way for us to portray a career in electrical contracting and renewable energy in a fun and imaginative way.”
Mary Beth Armbruster, IECRM Director of Operations & Member Services and float project director, explains, “IECRM created a unique relationship with the Downtown Denver Partnership to design and build the newest float in more than 20 years to be added to the annual 9NEWS Parade of Lights, and the new Sparkling Ice Castle float will now join the parade line-up for many years to come. Both non-profit organizations share a common goal to strengthen and support economic growth and development. The need for skilled trade workers in and around the city continues to grow and these workers are important to our communities.”
IECRM was tasked to develop a design concept and turn the vision into a 32’ x 10’ float that highlights new, state-of-the-art lighting features not seen before in the electric parade. A design contest was held among IECRM members, partners, and students. A total of 20 design submissions were submitted to the Downtown Denver Partnership and the IECRM Board of Directors to review and vote for the concept that would best fit in with the current floats and best represent and display the current lighting technologies. The winning concept featured an Ice Palace and Princess, submitted by a mother/daughter team Laura Cuthbert and IECRM 1st year electrical apprentice Catherine Cuthbert.
More than 50 volunteers consisting of IECRM staff, apprentices, electricians, contractors, industry partners, and their friends and family took time out of their busy schedules to roll up their sleeves and help to build the float. The design was completed in September 2017, with building beginning in October and wrapping up in November – a true testament to the commitment, skills, and excellence of the volunteer teams.
To celebrate the grand debut of the Sparkling Ice Castle float, IECRM’s Annual Holiday Party was held at the Hyatt Regency, with direct indoor and outdoor views of the parade. As guests arrived, they had the opportunity to meet and take pictures with the Ice Prince and Princess of the Sparkling Ice Castle float, both of whom are current enrolled students in the IECRM 4-Year Apprenticeship Program and were heavily involved with the volunteer float design and build teams. The Ice “Apprince” Ryan Gimeno (Specialized Electric) and Ice “Apprincess” Heather Volk (Kenny Electric) then made their way to ride atop the float and wave to the parade watchers. Additionally, IECRM member volunteers walked alongside the float decked out in a fun, electrified twist on the typical safety gear that electricians wear on the job.
Along with the festive holiday dinner there were plenty of fun activities for families to enjoy such as face painting, cookie decorating, games, crafts, and the live stream of the 9NEWS Parade of Lights. Sponsors for the event included: Bauerle & Company, Bret’s Electric, Brug Electric, Sir Speedy Printing, and Staffing Source.
The parade began at 8:00 p.m. with the 9NEWS live broadcast of the parade at the grandstands located in front of the City & County Building, and made its way through the streets of Denver, to cheering and festive crowds, during the warmest parade evening in the parade’s 43 year history. IECRM guests stepped outside of the Hyatt Regency to get a front row view of the parade and be a part of the cheering crowds that filled the streets of Downtown Denver. Three hundred IECRM members, students, their families, and hundreds of thousands of people cheered on the IECRM Sparkling Ice Castle float as it made its debut as the newest long-standing float addition to the 9NEWS Parade of Lights.
The debut of the IECRM Sparkling Ice Castle float also provided the opportunity to showcase the newly designed logo and tagline for the association – Hot Industry. Cool Career. – and unveil the association’s new website ColoradoElectricians.com to make it even easier for individuals interested in learning more about apprenticeship and an electrical career to access information.
Key IECRM members contributed to the volunteer design and build teams making the float concept come to life. Ryan Gimeno, a 3rd year apprentice with Specialized Electric, designed the float based on a compilation of the many great ideas and components from the creative design team, and produced the realistic artistic rendering that would guide the building. Heather Volk, a 1st year apprentice with Kenny Electric, initiated CAD drawings for structural planning. Alan Matsuo of Matsuo Engineering created the final CAD drawings for the Ice Castle, designed and engineered the electrical wiring of the float, and oversaw the building of the Ice Castle. James Enright of Corey Electrical Engineering designed and engineered the lighting for the Ice Castle. Kerry Felske, IECRM instructor with Colorado Electric & Power Systems, played a key role as a foreman at the build site and oversaw and led the team of volunteers on a daily basis at the Encore Electric Pre-Fabrication Warehouse that served as the build site. Keith Bovee of AIS Industrial was a crucial part of the team and oversaw the construction at the Loveland CreatorSpace where several components were produced. Mary Beth Armbruster, IECRM Director of Operations & Member Services, served as float project director, overseeing all aspects and details from artistic direction to materials acquisition to volunteer management and marketing communications. Randi Muniz stepped into a key role as project manager and assisted with the acquisition of products, tools, and supplies needed. Apprentice Clarence Brown, Apprentice Peter Kim of RK Mechanical, Krista Miller of Rexel, Lisa Reiswig of United Rentals, and Sara Schmidt of Legrand volunteered numerous hours of their time assisting with painting, carpentry, electrical, and other odds and ends from the beginning of the float build to the end.
Hundreds of volunteer hours were contributed along with products and materials supplied by sponsors. IECRM recognizes the generosity of the industry to complete this ambitious project that will showcase exceptional electrical and lighting effects for hundreds of thousands of parade viewers for many years to come.
The IECRM Ice Castle Float sponsors and partners include:
Encore Electric, Float Build Site
Professional Plastics, Inc., Castle Fabrication
Matsuo Engineering, Castle Design
Corey Electrical Engineering, Lighting Design
Loveland CreatorSpace, Crystal Fabrication
AIS Industrial Supply, Float Building Tools and Supplies
CED Denver, Float Building Supplies
Legrand, Float Building Supplies
QED Denver, Float Building Supplies
Rexel, Float Building Supplies
Weifield Group Electrical Contracting, Electrical Craftsmanship
Dodge Sign Company, Lighted IECRM Sign on Float
Colorado School of Mines Music Department, Original Music Composition for Float
Network Insurance, Music for Float
Emily Griffith Technical College, Northern Lights Effects
Encore Electric, Parade Walker Gear
AIS Industrial Supply, Parade Walker Gear
United Rentals, Parade Walker Gear