GAINESVILLE - Master Craftsmen... Builders of America is part of the Featherbone Communiversity Master Series Program in partnership with Lanier Technical College.
The 2012 Master Craftsmen Awards were presented to 10 skilled tradesmen from North Georgia Thursday Featherbone Communiversity. In addition to recognizing individuals with outstanding skills in their trade, the event included a forum moderated by State Sen. Butch Miller with discussion to showcasing the construction industry and promoting to young people and the community the importance of construction jobs in the economy.
The Master Craftsmen program was designed to work in conjunction with Gov. Deal's "Go Build Georgia" campaign. Tricia Pridemore, Executive Director, Governor's Office of Workforce Development, was guest speaker. "Go Build Georgia" seeks to educate young people on the value of learning a trade, dispel their misconceptions about the skilled trade industry and inspire them to consider building a career as a skilled tradesman
The 2012 Master Craftsmen Award Recipients are:
Ironworker / Metalworker
John Brady began working in the ironworker, sheet metal field in the early 1970s when he was employed by Wallace Sheet Metal. He worked there for 13 years, then left to work in the sheet metal and HVAC field at Lawson's Heating and Air Conditioning. John returned to Wallace and worked there until his retirement in 2011, a total of 20 years working for the company. From drawing and scaling out a design to project completion, his work has been met with praise and appreciation for his craftsmanship. Though John retired in late 2011, he has not slowed down. He has started his own company and continues to create outstanding metalwork pieces and creative ironwork. He has perfected his skills and is now making household items in wrought iron. From signs, wall and lawn art to fruit bowls and onion bins, John has turned his metal working skills into an art form.
Scott Head has over 32 years of ceramic tile craftsmanship, beginning in the industry working for Best Ceramic Tile during summers as a teen. Scott now owns and operates the company and has a reputation for integrity and honesty and is sought by homeowners, contractors, and architects for the quality of his work. Projects that exemplify his mastery of the trade include Rinehardt College's Art Museum, modeled after Villa Fonte and St. Michael's Cathedral; Jerusalem stonework at First Baptist Church; and finish work at Grace Episcopal Church. Scott has been involved in many projects for the Hall County School System as well as other surrounding school systems.
Ralph Crow began working with Lawson Air Conditioning & Plumbing in 1964, after serving in the US Army. Upon returning home, Ralph asked his brother Roy, who worked for Lawson Air Conditioning, if there was work available. Ralph joined Lawson as a pipefitter and for the last 48 years has served as sheet metal fabricator, HVAC installer, job foreman and now serves as HVAC superintendant for all Lawson's commercial projects. Ralph has trained countless number of workers who moved into foreman positions, some now with Lawson competitors! Ralph is a loyal and dedicated employee who understands the tradition of quality and has a keen ability to work directly with engineers, architects and general laborers.
Mike began his career in the electrical field in 1983 with guidance and support from his father and his colleagues that worked for the local power utility company. Mike's integrity and workmanship is reflected in his professionalism, and his knowledge of existing products and services and staying current with code regulations and trends in the industry. One of his biggest career accomplishments happened on a weekend after receiving a call that one of the state's premier resorts, Brasstown Valley Resort, had a switch gear catch fire. At the time of the incident, the Atlanta Braves were attending a conference at the resort, along with several wedding parties with Thanksgiving festivities upcoming. Mike went immediately to the resort and coordinated with energy companies the reengineering and reenergizing of the resort without power loss.
Richard Padgham has been working in the residential construction industry for 27 years. He began his career as a carpenter's assistant, and after gaining experience, he started his own remodeling firm. After being recognized for his talents, he was hired as a project manager by Housing Trends, a high-end residential builder in Atlanta. Eventually Richard decided to use his skills to build his own custom home construction company. Richard's portfolio of construction projects includes some of the finest homes in North Georgia. Richard uses his gifts of creativity to enhance projects and is blessed with not only great vision but the artistic ability to crate detailed drawings at construction sites to assist homeowners in grasping his vision and help subcontractors to execute efficiently.
Robert Batey spent his entire 54-year career with Caroll Daniel Construction Company. Robert is skilled in many areas of construction, having come from a generation of workers who rarely specialized in just one trade. Robert is a true master of many skilled trades, beginning his career as a laborer and working his way to journeyman carpenter and concrete finisher. He was often asked for by name due to his meticulous attention to detail and quality craftsmanship. Robert worked on and maintained many facilities in Northeast Georgia for over 50 years including the Milliken New Holland Plant, Chicopee Manufacturing, and Brasstown Bald Lookout Tower and Visitors Center that remains Georgia's "highest" building.
Greg Simpson grew up in the family business, Simpson Grading and Trucking that was founded in the late 1970s, and has demonstrated its core philosophy of "Quality projects and quality services ensure high customer satisfaction." To ensure the same level of quality on each project, Greg performs most of the tasks associated with sitework including: clearing, grinding, storm drainage, sewer, water, pavement, aggregate hauling and erosion control. He has led many projects including the 53-acre ZF Wind Power facility in Gainesville Business Park. The site included the removal of over 600,000 cubic yards of dirt to balance the land for ZF Wind Power's 250,000 square foot/ 500,000 square foot expandable facility.
Harry Pattillo began his carpentry career as a laborer/carpenter helper for R.W. Porterfield in Athens, GA in 1963. He attended Clemson University pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering when he was drafted in 1967 and spent three years in the Army. He ended up with the service in Fairbanks, Alaska and stayed 26 years working as a homebuilder, finish carpenter and cabinet worker. He built log houses for several years with the Scandinavian scribe system, which is essentially taking a tree and fitting it to another with pieces that weigh in excess of 2,000 pounds. He moved to Gainesville in 1994 and started Southern Wood Craftsmen. The company has completed interior and cabinetry work on many of Gainesville and the surrounding area's finest homes. He is most proud of his work at Joanne and Dub Bagwell's Gainesville home and the R.J. Reynolds Company's unique and challenging pavilion in Winston Salem, NC.
John Payne grew up in the plumbing industry. His father, Larry Payne, was a plumbing contractor until his retirement in the early 1990s, and John was exposed to every aspect of the business. School holidays and summer breaks were spent carrying pipe and handing fittings to the workers. Eventually he began working full time in the family business, doing plumbing repair and well pump work. Watching his dad and his employees, he learned an amazing work ethic and learned that plumbing was an important and profitable trade to undertake. John earned his master plumbers license and since then continues his education on a regular basis, keeping his license in good standing.
Jon Laughman is a 1981 graduate of the Montgomery County Joint Vocational School in Dayton, Ohio