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2017 Tradesperson of the Year Awards Announced

The May General Membership Luncheon meeting was held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at the Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel. The luncheon featured presentation of the annual Virginia Ship Repair Foundation Tradesperson of the Year Awards, sponsored by PNC Bank. These awards honor the "best of the best" ship repairers in Hampton Roads.

The winning Junior and Senior Tradesperson each received a check for $750, a $200 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse, a personalized commemorative Tradesperson of the Year jacket and tool bag, and a family pack of tickets to visit Nauticus. Winners also received recognition on the VSRA website, as well as during a ceremony at the National Maritime Day celebration hosted by the Propeller Club.

This year’s Senior Tradesperson of the Year is Anthony Banks of BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair. Mr. Banks is a pipefitter with over 40 years of experience. Known for his superior quality or work, and praised for his mentorship and leadership, he has become an icon in the pipefitting trade. On one availability, he was tasked with installing a Lube Oil Purifier System. Over a week into the installation, the customer decided to completely change the system’s design. Keeping a positive attitude, and relying on his keen attention to detail, Mr. Banks worked around the clock, even as the ship transitioned from dry-dock to pier-side, and delivered the system on schedule despite the changes he was thrown. He has also continually served as a sought-after mentor, both inside and outside of the shipyard, helping new and junior tradespeople find their paths in the ship repair industry.

This year’s Junior Tradesperson of the Year is Harold Martin of General Dynamics NASSCO - Norfolk. Mr. Martin entered the industry as a fire watch, eventually transitioning into the pipe shop as a handyman. He now works as a pipefitter, and has achieved tremendous success pursuing many certifications and credentials to improve his abilities and expand his knowledge. He has been praised for his perfect safety record, and for becoming the only pipefitter in his shop to earn tack weld certification. His talent, ingenuity, and skill were on full display when he led the installation of 1,000 feet of piping for a chlorination modification with no rework, and managed to reduce the number of couplings and joints required by more than half along the way. Beyond his stellar work, however, Mr. Martin is a phenomenal representative of our industry throughout his community. On his off days, he can be found volunteering with a local organization for the homeless, serving food and keeping the facilities clean, or at his church mowing the grass or lending a listening ear to anyone in need of encouragement. He shares his path to success regularly with those in his community, and has mentored several of his peers to pursue careers in ship repair.

Each nominee received a $25 gift card to Outback Steakhouse. This years nominees were:

Junior Tradesperson of the Year Nominees:

Albert “Matt” Bollinger (Valkyrie Enterprises)
Anthony Reyes Santiago (BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair)
Colter Chambers (Oceaneering International, Inc.)
Harold Martin (General Dynamics NASSCO - Norfolk)
Jeffrey Holden (KITCO Fiber Optics)
Johnny Lawrence (AMSEC)
Mike Aponti (Newport News Shipbuilding)
Shaun Morris (Tecnico Corporation)
Travis Hart (Johnson Controls Building Automation Systems)

Senior Tradesperson of the Year Nominees:

Anacleto Buenaflor (AMSEC)
Anthony Banks (BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair)
Anthony Dale (Tecnico Corporation)
Carlton Roberts (Oceaneering International)
Chris Walker (KITCO Fiber Optics)
Cody Sanders (General Dynamics NASSCO – Norfolk)
Peter Holcomb (Epsilon Systems Solutions)
Ron Whiteman (Newport News Shipbuilding)
Timothy Connelly (Valkyrie Enterprises) 

The VSRF Tradesperson of the Year Awards, sponsored by PNC Bank, honor the “best of the best” ship repairers in Hampton Roads. The Junior Tradesperson of the Year is selected among member company nominees with less than 5 years of experience in their field, who demonstrate commitment, excellent skills, and a focus on safety, and serve as a role model to their fellow employees. The Senior Tradesperson of the Year has more than 5 years of experience in their field, and demonstrates leadership, innovation in their craft, mentorship, and contributions to the community.

Congratulations to this year's nominees and winners!

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