Pittsburgh, PA-Paul Julian, Systems Consultant for Bender Consulting Services, Inc. (Bender Consulting ) recently placed 2nd for the Paralyzed Veterans Association's (PVA) 4th Grand National Championship (GNC) held on St. John's River in Sanford, Seminole County, FL (Orlando) January 14-16, 2005. His prize was $2,500.00.

The GNC tournament is a 3-day cut tournament format, where after two days of fishing, the field is narrowed to the top five contenders based on the first two days total weight. On the cut day, where 5 anglers are competing, the previous two-day weights are wiped cleaned (start at zero weight) and the winner is determined by the most weight brought to the scales.

In the 2004 season, Paul finished 13th overall and qualified to participate in the championship. The competition is extremely tough at this level, due to the fact that these are the top 25 disabled anglers in the United States.

On day 1 of the competition, Paul was in second place with 11.06 pounds and first place had a weight of 11.10 pounds. On day 2, he brought a limit of bass weighing 14.03 lbs to the scale, with one bass weighing 6.14 lbs, and ended up as the second day leader with a total of weight of 25.13 lbs. Once the field of 5 was determined, the following day the weigh scale was set to zero and whoever brought in the heaviest sack of bass is crowned the champion.

On day 3, the competition was close. Paul managed to catch his limit of 5 of bass weighing 7.06 lbs that was good for second place. "For my efforts, I was awarded $2,500 plus $150.00 for big bass on Saturday's competition," said Paul Julian.

"To be a contender on the final day is truly an amazing experience, especially with all of the hoop-la and television coverage. Word got out before the tournament started that I was catching big bass in practice, so of course the camera crew taped me fishing all three days of the tournament. It was truly an honor to represent Bender Consulting Services and all disabled people across the United States in the PVA Bass Tour. I'm looking forward to competing in the 2005 season and once again qualifying for the Grand National's," said Julian.

Bender Consulting Services, Inc. is a technology consulting firm based in Pittsburgh that employs professionals with disabilities in the areas of information technology, finance/accounting, general business, and human resources. Paul has been employed with the company since 1996.

The PVA developed the B.A.S.S. Trail sporting event to promote the art of fishing to people with disabilities, who thrive on competition and self-motivation. For more information on the programs and services of the PVA visit www.pva.org. For more information on the PVA Bass Tournaments visit PVA.

Bender Consulting creates employment opportunities for professionals with disabilities in information technology, engineering, finance/accounting, human resources and general business areas. Incorporated in 1995, Bender Consulting is headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA. Click here for more information on Bender Consulting . To nominate a business leader for the 2005 Tony Coelho Award, contact Joyce Bender.