« Back to VSRF

2024 18th 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:

2024 VSRF Jr ToY Nomination Form 
2024 VSRF Sr ToY Nomination Form 

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

**Nominations has closed, please keep in mind your BEST of the BEST for 2024!

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.

Please refrain from submitting their certificates or licenses, especially if these items contain their name and company's name. The judges are aware that if they are actively working in the industry, they must have these. 

Premier Sponsorship by:  FULTON Bank



Prizes Sponsored by: Stanley Black & Decker



The 2023 Senior Tradesperson of the Year, Bradford Major, serves as a Crew Leader, for Inside Machine shop. Bradford began his career in the trades more than 25 years ago and learned on the job. He is now their organization’s subject matter expert for successfully executing shafting evolutions and have sought out training and development opportunities to also master bellows, diesels, valves, and pumps. Bradford developed this cross functional competency to better assist their organization in leveling workload across machining functions. His dedication to development extends to the junior mechanics in their shop. Bradford constantly seeks opportunities to teach junior mechanics by identifying opportunities for their learning and ensuring they are included in engaged in those opportunities. Bradford exemplifies knowledge sharing, positive mentorship, and leading by example.

As a true subject matter expert, Bradford takes the lead during shafting evolutions which involve coordination between multiple trade specialties, specialized equipment, and personnel with varying levels of experience. His leadership and expertise are vital to on time delivery of vessels in the General Dynamics Nassco-Norfolk facility.

Bradford distinguishes himself from his peers with his demeanor and the pride he takes in his work. He is a positive role model for his peers as well as junior mechanics; his calm, positive attitude provides for a working environment that successfully allows for learning and prioritizes safety while still meeting schedule and cost constraints.

Bradford strives to give back as much as he is able, he's participated in opportunities to feed members of their community and helped clean a shelter in their neighborhood. Bradford Major provides a fantastic example of leadership and accountability at home and at work. 


The runner-up for this year’s Senior Tradesperson award is Eric "EMO" More, a Tank Cleaning Specialist who has been with their company for 25 years. When the term loyalty comes up, Eric is often cited as an example internally to the company of what it means to be dedicated to a trades level craft. Eric was the leadership on the deckplates for the flagship Fall Arrest System christened onboard the USS IWO JIMA. This new safety initiative started in 2022 and came to fruition in 2023. He trained, maintained, and operated a very specific Fall Arrest System for tanks with ‘double bottoms’ and unguarded edges to ensure personnel entering, cleaning, and maintaining an opened tank do so safely with minimized threat of slip, trip, fall injuries and death.

Eric coaches a Portsmouth Little League team with a stellar record for 2023 and looking forward to next season. He also works with their local church and community to volunteer for book drives, food drives, and, their personal favorite, the ‘Back to School’ backpack drive where Eric goes door to door to ask people to donate old or lightly used backpacks for kids in need for the upcoming school year. Eric is often the ‘Head Chef’ for Summer and Fall cookouts for his local church providing camaraderie and a sense of community for candidate’s local part of the world.



The 2023 Junior Tradesperson of the Year, Christian Fitzgerald recently graduated as a Journeyman Apprentice in 2023. He exemplifies a strong commitment to professional development and continuous improvement in his trade and operational expertise. Christian has obtained The National Center for Construction Education and Research certification for Maritime Welding Levels 1 and 2, Certificate of Maritime Studies, and multiple NAVSEA and ABS welding certificates. He serves as a mentor to up and coming workers and apprentices, as well as assisting in Buckingham County Career and Technical Center, committing themselves to knowledge sharing and fostering the development of others in their field. Christian has gone the extra mile for job completions, including working overtime and weekends which reflects his strong work ethic and dedication to his craft.

Christian has maintained an outstanding safety record, demonstrating an initiative-taking approach to safety that has resulted in zero job related injuries. He consistently prioritize a secure work environment and actively contribute to resolving any unsafe working conditions they come across. His commitment to instilling safe working practices in their co-workers and team is evident in various aspects of the professional journey.

Christian has an outstanding presence in the community, he has displayed dedication to fostering a cohesive and thriving local environment. He is actively engaging in a multitude of initiatives and projects, and has significantly contributed to the well-being and unity of his community. Notably, his involvement spans diverse activities such as generous contributions to various charitable causes, supporting local churches, aiding in animal rescue efforts, and assisting the elderly.

Christian's impressive list of qualifications, certifications, commitment to mentorship, community involvement and personal achievements demonstrates a well-rounded individual who seeks training and improvement opportunities to enhance his trade and operational expertise while also contributing positively to their community and personal life.



After only a year in the Rigging shop, the value of Anthony has been acknowledged and has been recently promoted. Cream always rises to the top, and Anthony fits that billing. Anthony has a continuous drive to excel in his trade in the ship repair industry. He is a remarkable individual, the type that excels when only given the chance. Anhtony's supervisor has trusted him to oversee many operational weight tests onboard the ship availability including boat davits, helicopter nets, helicopter tiedowns, and handrails. All completed with safety briefs conducted by him and completed without incident and on schedule.

Anthony has always taken his work seriously and never allows down time to stagnant him. When there is no immediate work to be completed, Anthony can be found picking up trash around the shipyard or providing training for other junior tradespeople. Anthony has been recognized for exceptional safety standards, identifying reporting and correcting safety discrepancies such as unprotected hatches left open, tanks with improper covers, unobservant pedestrians around static loads, all potential catastrophic incidents that were prevented.

He is active in his community church as the Armor Bearer of the Priest, and he also seeks out other churches to identify in-need senior citizens who need landscaping completed free of charge. Anthony is active in the “Dads of Great Students”, a national Watch D.O.G.S. Program which focuses on providing positive male role models for the students, demonstrating by his presence, ensuring that education is important and to provide extra set of eyes and ears to enhance school security and reduce bullying.