An annual tradition at the North Bennet Street School on graduation day is recognizing a distinguished member of the alumni community. The students, staff and alumni community nominate candidates who are out in the field practicing their craft and embodying the best of what the school has to offer and this year we had another strong group of candidates which made the decision a tough one.
This year’s winner of the Distinguished Alumni Award (DAA) is Brandon Gordon (PC) of the National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC).
Brandon currently works as a project supervisor where he is responsible for for planning, evaluating, initiating, administering, performing and supervising work on the National Park Service’s (NPS) most complex and unique preservation projects. He has used the knowledge and skills gained from NBSS to accomplish work on a variety of historic structures that cover a wide range of time periods and architectural styles.
In his own words: “I continue to pass along these preservation and restoration techniques to advance the skills and methods of project teams. My NBSS education has allowed me to direct highly skilled preservation trades people in the utilization of special tools and techniques necessary to carry out preservation projects. I also serve as a training instructor for lesser skilled employees by organizing and producing training programs for the NPS. I have presented workshops on maintaining and repairing historic wood windows to NPS employees, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and at IPTW.”
During Brandon’s visit we had our usual end of year BBQ and toured the Arlington facility. Later this summer the Carpentry and Preservation Carpentry departments will be moving to the new NBSS location on North Street in Boston where all the programs will again be under one roof — while nice to get all the programs back together again I also felt a bit sad that this was likely the last big hurrah at this location which was home to me when I was a student.
After a nice introduction from Rich Friberg, Brandon took the opportunity to talk with the students about what he did when he was at NBSS, some workshops he taught at NBSS, what he’s done since graduation, a bit of advice, and answering questions from the class.
Next up, it was time to hand out the perfect attendance awards + scholarship which were started last year by Johnathan Ericson (PC ’11). Judging by the long list of winners it was nice to see the level of dedication exemplified by this class of students.
During the Q & A session there were some good questions and amusing anecdotes that kept everyone entertained including what it’s like to work on the White House when the President is coming and going via the Marine One helicopter.
And no recap of the day would be complete without a mention of the last day of class surprise PC1 (2014 class) had for Steve O’Shaughnessy their instructor. They had custom shirts made which made which decry ‘The O’Shaughnessy Method’ which captures some of the more poignant, memorable or hilarious things Steve said to them during the year. (Click the picture above to view it larger and read it) If anyone has a copy of the original graphic, please send it my way.
It was a beautiful 90+ degree day at the school and great to finally meet Brandon in person. As the students move their tools out of the shop for the summer and get ready for their internships or new jobs I know they are going out into the world with a solid skill-set that will serve them well for years to come.
Congratulations to Brandon and the PC Class of 2013 — you have a bright future ahead of you!