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2022 16th Annual Tradesperson of the Year Awards

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.

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

Please click on the following links for:

2022 VSRF Jr ToY Nomination Form
2022 VSRF Sr ToY Nomination Form

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

Nomination Tips:

The judges look for specific examples of expertise, leadership and commitment. Please be descriptive in your answers. Other areas that weigh in on the decision-making are: creativity, safety, professionalism and growth. Please try to refrain from using the nominee’s name or company name in your nominee descriptions other than on the first page of the nomination form. Also please refrain from using HE or SHE within nominee descriptions, instead please use THEM, THEY, THEIR or NOMINEE as we want to maintain anonymity of the individual.

Premier Sponsorship by:  PNC Bank


Last year's Winners:

2021 SENIOR TRADESPERSON OF THE YEAR
STEVEN HAMBRICK, EPSILON SYSTEMS SOLUTIONS

Our 2021 Senior Tradesperson of the Year is a tank cleaning specialist who began their career as a temporary employee in 2010. Known for their positive attitude, impeccable work ethic, and hunger for knowledge, they were quickly hired on full time and worked their way up the ranks to earn the title of tank specialist in 2017. This individual has implemented a cross-training program within their company to pair together tank cleaners and repair specialists. This program has helped ensure that employees have a holistic picture of the job at hand and are working together to complete work on schedule and under budget. Our Senior Tradesperson of the Year has never missed a day of work in their career and is known for their reliability and dedication to safety. Earlier this year, this individual led a team that successfully emptied three sanitary tanks and disposed of more than 18,000 gallons of waste fluid, 8,600 pounds of hard salt deposits, and 4,300 pounds of grease and debris. A grueling job that typically takes upwards of 12 weeks took them just one month to complete. Our Senior Tradesperson has won numerous awards from their own company, customers, and ship’s force, earning distinction as a shipyard services employee of the month 10 times and recently being named their company’s employee of the year. In order to become an even more well-rounded employee, this individual has been taking college courses and is nearing graduation with a degree in Business Management. They also coach softball and baseball at Western Branch middle school, serve as a mentor for their son’s robotics team, and volunteer to support home repairs for less fortunate community members. They are passionate about animal rescue and foster dogs who come from abusive homes. They volunteer time with Goodwill and the Disabled American Veterans to sort donated goods for distribution to those in need and participate in the Chesapeake Civic League to clean up and beautify local highways and parks. Our Senior Tradesperson of the Year already serves as a fantastic ambassador of the Ship Repair Industry, speaking at local Middle School career days and mentoring young citizens on the camaraderie, competitive pay, and pride of work that the Hampton Roads ship repair industry has to offer.

2021 RUNNER-UP SENIOR TRADESPERSON OF THE YEAR
TONY GIBSON, HII FLEET SUPPORT GROUP

The runner-up for this year’s Senior Tradesperson award is a master electrician with more than 30 years of experience. This individual serves as a subject matter expert on troubleshooting and repairing valve operator and tank level indicators and has trained more than 245 technicians and sailors through the years in troubleshooting, repair, and pump room operations. This individual is not just a role-model but serves as a mentor for more junior tradespeople. Our runner-up’s excellent work has been recognized by COMNAVAIRLANT Fuels Officers, who regularly request this individual by name for important work. In addition, this individual serves the community as a high school track and field coach and as a volunteer sheriff’s deputy with the Chesapeake sheriff’s department. As a volunteer deputy, they have been called to mobilize and serve the community after several natural disasters.

2021 JUNIOR TRADESPERSON OF THE YEAR 
CORINE GILROY of FAIRLEAD BOATWORKS

The 2021 Junior Tradesperson of the Year started as a fire watch, but quickly began seeking more responsibility within their company and soon found a talent and passion for welding. After demonstrating a superb work ethic, this individual was given the opportunity to receive welding training and has absolutely excelled ever since. Now, with a little more than three years in the industry, they have worked their way up to being recognized as one of their company’s best welders and a Subject Matter Expert. Our Junior Tradesperson of the Year has a perfect safety record and is often paired with new employees as a role-model for maintaining a safe environment and demonstrating unparalleled work ethic. Recognizing a need to wrap and hang cables and hoses within the shop, our Junior Tradesperson stepped up to plan, design, and implement cable and hose racks for safe, tidy, and efficient storage. This individual also received recognition for outstanding productivity when conducting vent pipe fabrication on a recent availability and, as a result, was nominated to receive advanced welding training. Outside of work, our 2021 Junior Tradesperson of the Year serves the community by purchasing and assembling Christmas bundles for community members in need, and often finds ways to encourage other local residents to join the effort and give back.


2021 RUNNER-UP JUNIOR TRADESPERSON OF THE YEAR
KYLE BRIDGE of EPSILON SYSTEMS SOLUTIONS

The runner-up for the Junior Tradesperson award is a tank cleaner and driver who is the newest employee at their company, with just over a year of experience. This individual is described as incredibly detail-oriented and has adopted an almost mechanical method for inventorying hardware assets, then assessing and cleaning the pieces that can be reused. The efficient manner in which they carry out this process saves money for their company and the government customer. Our runner up’s good nature and positive attitude serve as a powerful example of role modeling to the crew they work with daily.
They can often be found entertaining their teammates with a bit of opera singing. In their spare time, this individual runs a karaoke group for their church and often leads a bible study group.