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2020 14th Annual Tradesperson of the Year Awards Moved to November 2020

Established in 2006, the Virginia Ship Repair Foundation’s Tradesperson of the Year Awards recognize  excellence in the ship repair industry workforce. From numerous nominees, two winners are selected: a senior tradesperson with more than five years of industry experience, and a junior tradesperson with fewer than five years experience in their chosen trade field. These nominees and winners are truly the best of the best, and showcase the exemplary talent and work ethic that make Virginia’s ship repairers the best in the world.

The VSRF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, so all sponsorships are tax-deductible and go toward valuable initiatives that enhance and expand the future ship repair industry workforce.

With the ongoing health crisis created by COVID-19, Ship Repairers are bravely serving as mission critical, essential workers, and are continuing to go to work and put in their full efforts to ensure our Navy and commercial fleets are operating at maximum readiness.

Now, more than ever, it is important to recognize excellence in our workforce. Your Association and Foundation are dedicated to doing just that.

In order to provide time for prioritized efforts during the COVID-19 situation, our Leadership has decided to move the Tradesperson of the Year Awards to November.  Deadline to submit your nominations will be Friday, October 23, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. 

Please click on the following links for:

2020 VSRF Jr ToY Nomination Form
2020 VSRF Sr ToY Nomination Form

VSRF Jr Sample ToY Nomination Form
VSRF Sr Sample ToY Nomination Form


Premier Sponsorship by:  PNC Bank

Last year's Winners:


Dirk Parker is a welder with an illustrious 37-year career. Known for the ability to tackle difficult jobs, he is regularly given specialty work, which is always completed on-time and with precision.

Dirk has won several awards throughout his career, including 3 Employee Recognition Awards within his company. Always enthusiastic about learning new things, Dirk has multiple specialty qualifications and regularly requests additional trainings and qualifications to add to his knowledge and skills.

He is passionate about ensuring the safety of everyone on the jobsite and has never had a single safety violation or injury in his entire 37-year career. 

On one job, when additional manning wasn’t available, Dirk volunteered to work alone on a component that would typically require multiple welders. He managed to finish the job in half the number of expected hours, saving the company and the Navy-customer budget and time, while also ensuring top-quality.

In the community, Dirk has volunteered with high-school and rec-league football teams as a coach and coordinator, and has worked with the Salvation Army.



Elvis is an outside machinist who is described as a “recognized expert” in his field. His flawless record with zero safety incidents and zero re-work shows his dedication to ensuring work is right the first time and the schedule is maintained. 

Known for his willingness to mentor junior tradespeople, Elvis is regularly assigned junior and apprentice outside machinists to work with, passing along an outstanding work-ethic and the desire to strive for excellence.

Beyond work, he is dedicated to the safety and well-being of our community, and has taught self-defense classes in his neighborhood, while also serving as an active member of his neighborhood watch team.


Axel Leon started in our industry as a temporary employee who quickly found a talent and passion for welding. Through a persistent effort to learn both the academic and hands-on aspects of the trade, Axel diligently honed his skill set and has achieved a remarkable first-pass success rate of 100-percent.

Axel has become known for both mentorship to peers and innovation on the deck-plate. In a letter of recommendatio, the lead superintendent of the current availability said of Axel: “...since coming on board, Axel has set a standard in all aspects of ship repair. His work area on board the ship is second-to-none as far as safety and cleanliness. It is readily apparent to the US Navy customer that he cares about doing the job well. It is easy to see that he gives his best effort each and every day, and inspires co-workers to do the same.

Perhaps even more impressive, however, is the selflessness and dedication-to-community shown by Axel Leon. After tornadoes caused much damage to parts of Suffolk in 2017, he immediately went to work, helping with cleanup efforts. A few months later, he also provided support to the residents of Puerto Rico who were devastated by hurricanes, providing aid to the victims of storm damage, including his own grandmother whom they helped relocate and moved into his home here in Norfolk.



Paul Flory is an outside machinist who is described as demonstrating meticulous attention to detail and a clear understanding of the technical complexities involved in the ship repair industry. He has a perfect safety record and always demonstrates safety-leadership in the shop and on the deck-plate.

Paul is active in our community, volunteering as Youth Group Leader and Sunday School teacher at Church, while also taking part in mission trips to assist other churches and communities across Virginia and bordering states.  He has a positive, can-do attitude.