HBI Graduates Receive NAHB Chairman’s Award and Shirley McVay Wisemen Award for Exceptional Promise at 2015 NAHB International Builders’ Show


LAS VEGAS – January 29, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — HBI program graduates, Christopher Casanovas of Okeechobee Country, Fla., and Kimberly Walker from Pinellas County, Fla., were recognized for their outstanding leadership qualities and achievements in the homebuilding industry at the 2015 NAHB International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. Casanovas and Walker are proficient in their trades and have exhibited exemplary skills that distinguish them as role models for their construction training programs and potential industry leaders in the future. Casanovas and Walker received their awards during presentations yesterday.

The NAHB Chairman’s Award is presented annually to an outstanding HBI program graduate who has overcome adversity to achieve success in the building industry. Casanovas is a 2009 graduate of the facilities maintenance program at the PACT for Youth Okeechobee Youth Development Center. He completed his Pre-Apprenticeship training with HBI at Okeechobee Juvenile Development Center and is currently employed as an electrician.

As a student at Florida International University and in the five-year Electrical Apprenticeship Program with his local union, Casanovas is preparing to complete his Associate’s Degree and obtain his Journeyman’s Certification as an electrician. In addition to working toward his own personal goals, he seeks to help young people avoid making mistakes or recover from mistakes that they have already made.

“In my mind, the reason that makes him really stand out for this award is that he has not forgotten where he came from or what challenges face other young people in his community,” explained his HBI Instructor Shannon Shirts.

Walker, a graduate of the HBI Job Corps Carpentry Program at the Pinellas County Job Corps Center, received her award from Shirley McVay Wiseman. The Shirley McVay Wisemen Award for Exceptional Promise Award is presented annually to an outstanding female HBI program graduate who is pursuing a successful career in the homebuilding industry.

Walker is currently employed as a cabinet builder and fabricator. As one of the first cohorts to enter the HBI Pre-Apprentice Carpentry training at Pinellas County Center, she quickly established herself as a leader in the shop and in other activities on the campus.

“Kim Walker is one of the most detail-oriented, hard-working students I have ever had. Her only desire seemed to be to do what I asked as soon as I asked,” said HBI Instructor Jeremy Kennebeck.

Both recipients received a crystal award and a monetary prize to recognize their accomplishments.

“Kim and Chris are leading examples of what HBI’s programs are all about. We are very proud to be partners in their success,” said HBI President and CEO John Courson. “These awards represent their hard work and dedication to their trades to become trained and ready to serve the building industry.”

About HBI
HBI is a national nonprofit that provides training, mentoring, curriculum development and job placement services in support of the building industry. With an 80 percent job placement rate for graduates, HBI training programs are taught in local communities across the country to youth, adults, veterans, ex-offenders and displaced workers. Visit www.hbi.org for more information.

Contact: Lynne Harris
202-266-8936 (o)
202-603-1183 (c)

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