« Return to Newsletter

2018 VSRF Tradesperson of the Year Awards Announced

The May General Membership Luncheon meeting was held on Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at the Portsmouth Renaissance Hotel. The luncheon featured presentation of the 12th 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.

With ten (10) outstanding nominations in both the Junior and Senior Tradesperson of the Year categories, the Judges Panel had the difficult task of selecting one awardee for both the Junior and Senior winners.  After a review of the final results and the very close margin once all votes were tallied in each category, the Judges Panel and VSRF Board decided to award Runners-Up for both the Junior and Senior Tradesperson of the Year.

The Junior and Senior Tradesperson Runners-Up each received a $150 gift certificate to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Cole Swindell Concert Tickets.

This year’s Junior Tradesperson of the Year Runner-Up is Candace Winslow of General Dynamics NASSCO – NorfolkMs. Winslow first entered the industry two and a half years ago as a pipefitter handyman. Through her hard work and determination, Ms. Winslow quickly gained the skills necessary to be promoted to Pipe Welder and she now excels at both pipe and structural welding. Ms. Winslow is extremely driven and committed to upholding a high standard of excellence in the workplace by leading her peers by example. In addition to her work accomplishments, she also serves as an enthusiastic ambassador for her company to persuade job seekers in the community to consider a career in the ship repair industry.

This year’s Senior Tradesperson of the Year Runner-Up is Jamie Pierce of HII Technical Solutions. Mr. Pierce has approximately 40 years of total experience as an Outside Machinist. He maintains a quality-minded approach to repairs and consistently goes the extra mile to ensure the customer receives the highest quality service possible. He helps ensure safety in the workplace by holding daily safety briefs with his team. Mr. Pierce has mentored over 100 of his company’s employees, which has given him many opportunities to share his wealth of knowledge and experience with others, so they too can be influential leaders in the industry.

The Junior and Senior Tradesperson Winners  each received a check for $750, a $200 gift certificate to Outback Steakhouse, a personalized commemorative Tradesperson of the Year jacket and tool bag, a family pack of tickets to visit Nauticus, and free admission to the annual VSRA Safety & Health Seminar. Winners will also receive 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 Junior Tradesperson of the Year is Antonio Spivey of BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair. Mr. Spivey started in the industry as an Inside Machinist shortly after completing vocational schooling. He quickly set out to learn additional skills while on the job and now specializes in valve and pump repairs. Over the past four years, Mr. Spivey has demonstrated an exemplary work ethic and a commitment to providing superior quality work. Our awardee has never had a single safety violation and has received several honors including the Overall Safety Award and a Safety Coin. Additionally, Mr. Spivey readily shares his success and knowledge with others and has become an active participant in his company’s training program where he has had the opportunity to mentor several junior craftsmen.  Beyond Mr. Spivey’s stellar work ethic, he is a phenomenal representative of the industry throughout our community. On off days, you will find him coaching a local elementary school’s tackle football team. Mr. Spivey seizes this opportunity to speak into the lives of our local youth in the hopes it will inspire them to improve their lives as well.

This year’s Senior Tradesperson of the Year is Edgardo Bagtas of General Dynamics NASSCO - Norfolk. Mr. Bagtas has over 35 years of experience in the electrical trade. From a young age, he knew he wanted to become an electrician and chose to attend an apprenticeship program to make this dream a reality.  Known for his superior quality of work, and praised for his mentorship and leadership, Mr. Bagtas has become a vital asset to the ship repair industry. He has also maintained a perfect safety record throughout his lengthy career and actively teaches his crew the importance of upholding safety precautions in the electrical field. Through Mr. Bagtas’ leadership, the Electrical Department has successfully submitted over 40 cost-saving and safety ideas that will help his company execute work more safely and efficiently. In addition to our awardee’s many accomplishments in the workplace, Mr. Bagtas has also maintained an extremely active presence in his local community. He supports underprivileged communities by volunteering with several medical and dental missions. He also volunteers at his local church and public school as a mentor for young people.

Each nominee received a VSRA Shirt and Langley Speedway Tickets. This years nominees were:

2018 Junior Tradesperson of the Year Nominees:

Antonio Spivey (BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair)
Candace Winslow (General Dynamics NASSCO - Norfolk)
Christian Santiago (Bay Metals & Fabrication)
Jacob Perez (Oceaneering International)
Jason Goodman (Amee Bay)
Ryan Fish (HII Technical Solutions)
Sean Foley (Tecnico Corporation)
Travis Coleman Miller (Marine Specialty Painting)
William Blackwell (Valkyrie Enterprises)
William Land (KITCO Fiber Optics)

2018 Senior Tradesperson of the Year Nominees:

Adam Stephenson (Oceaneering International)
Daniel Martineau (KITCO Fiber Optics)
Edgardo Bagtas (General Dynamics NASSCO - Norfolk)
Falon Mason (BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair)
Jamie J. Pierce (HII Technical Solutions)
Michael Reidler (Tecnico Corporation)
Richard Madrid (Amee Bay)
Stephen Hambrick (Epsilon Systems Solutions)
Timothy Connelly (Valkyrie Enterprises)
Timothy Pastella (Newport News Shipbuilding)

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.

Special Thank You to the 2018 Judges Panel:

Brian Daugherty (kSARIA Corporation)
Terry Stead
Beth Callahan (International Marine & Industrial Applicators)
Corey McCray (TCC)
David Spinazzolo (Metropolitan Solutions)
Ron Ritter (On Point)
Capt. Dan Lannamann (Commander, MARMC)
Darrick Wickre (PNC Bank) Ex-Officio

Congratulations to this year's nominees and winners!

« Return to Newsletter