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Gruno named Craftperson of the Year

May 7 2009

The Association of Union Constructors named Garth Gruno Craftperson of the Year at TAUC Leadership Conference 2009 on May 7.

Gruno is a member of Ironworker Local No. 25, and was honored for his work with Midwest Steel, for Barton Malow Company, on the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s and Women’s Replacement Hospital.


TAUC President Robert W. Santillo said Gruno exemplifies the virtues of union construction at its best.

“People like you make it a pleasure for us to be union contractors, and give us reason to believe that the best days for union construction are yet to come,” said Santillo at the award ceremony.


Also recognized at the ceremony were first runner-up Chad Naes and second runner-up Dino Benedict.

Naes, a member of Ironworker Local No. 396, was honored for his work with MC Industrial, for ConocoPhillips Company, on the ConocoPhillips Wood River Waste Water Treatment Plant Expansion.

Benedict, a member of Ironworker Local No. 25, was honored for his work with Midwest Steel, for Walbridge-Barton Malow, on the Detroit Metro Airport North Terminal Expansion.

The James J. Willis Craftperson of the Year Award recognizes outstanding labor-management cooperation and quality craftsmanship in the construction industry. Nominations are evaluated against five criteria:

1. Schedule and Budget;
2. Productivity;
3. Cost Savings Innovation;
4. Safety and Health; and
5. Outstanding Craftsmanship

Projects must be completed in the calendar year of the award, and nominations are forwarded to our judge’s panel to be evaluated and ranked in each category.

This year, the members of the Willis Award judge’s panel were:

– Alan Black, Construction and Turnaround Services;
– Charles “Bud” Burns, J.J. White; and,
– William Ligetti, Ironworker Employers Association of Western Pennsylvania.

This was the first year this award was given out under the name of the ‘James J. Willis Craftperson of the Year Award.’

The award will be given out again next year at TAUC Leadership Conference 2010 in Phoenix, Arizona; scheduled May 11-14.

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