Sherman Smith, left, and Stuart Cowen, both of whom are retiring after 29 years in Orange Park High School’s Career and Technical Education program, received Gold Hammer plaques during the 2024 Construction Trades Brunch.

May 14, 2024

Educators Honored for Shaping Construction Careers at Annual Event

Join us in paying tribute to the decades-long dedication of two retiring educators, who taught invaluable skills and launched scores of careers.


Near the end of each school year, Haskell holds an event where the historically strong Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs from the six high schools in Clay County, Florida, present awards to their top students.

The 2024 Construction Trades Brunch took on added significance as it was the last for Carpentry instructor Stuart Cowen and Welding instructor Sherman Smith, each of whom is retiring after 29 years of teaching their crafts at Orange Park High, the very school that gave them their start.

Every year, the Gold Hammer Award goes to the top student in carpentry and building trades at each school. This year, Cowen and Smith received their own Gold Hammer plaques. Each bore this inscription: “On behalf of The Haskell Company and the Clay County School Board, we recognize your remarkable 29 years of unwavering dedication and service. This Gold Hammer represents all the lives you've touched, fostering skills and guiding them to the path of achievement. Your tireless efforts have enriched our industry, and we are honored to celebrate your retirement. Your legacy is one of inspiration.”

“It was just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, going to the right school where there was somebody who could provide me an education,” said Cowen, who spent 20 years as a Haskell team member before returning to his alma mater. “You look around at all these young kids, and we’re all the same. We had a program that could teach us how to go out and make a living and do the work.”

No fewer than eight Haskell team members who came through the Clay School District’s trades program attended to honor the longtime educators and engage the 60-plus students. They ranged from a first-year apprentice to a Project Superintendent and included Tim Mosley, Senior Manager of Field Personnel, who has led the annual effort for two decades.

“This is about the opportunity to have a career path, and it's also about enlightenment,” Smith said. “These young people need to see this to say, ‘Oh, wow, this is possible for me.’ To see a company take the time out to give back to the community, that can deal with apprenticeships, take them by the hand and take away the fear of learning and a new culture. A lot of these young people are terrified of change. But Haskell makes it easy. So, it means the world to me to have a company that reaches out, that cares and also maintains the standard of what we try to instill about young people, which is work hard, crawl before you walk, be dependable, be respectable, know how to work well with others and you will be rewarded.”

Each of the six district high schools offers a carpentry program, and some have programs in other AEC industry career paths. Following are the 2024 recipients from each.

  • Gold Hammer (construction): Annalise Crane, Orange Park; Jacob Davis, Fleming Island; Nate Helmuth, Middleburg; Naithan Stanney-Colón, Clay; Taylor Turner, Ridgeview.
  • Gold Compass (engineering): Amelia Stiltner, Middleburg; Justin Boccieri Hart, Orange Park
  • Gold Torch (welding): Kyrian Gruentzel, Orange Park
  • Outstanding Student Electrical: Masan Lee, Middleburg
  • Outstanding Student HVAC: Reme Graf, Ridgeview

Haskell is hiring! Explore the many options available to join a growing company committed to educating and developing team members, enabling them to have the BEST job of their lives.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

Related News & Insights

Privacy Policy

Our website uses technology to offer you a personalized experience. We need your consent use cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. By clicking “Accept,” you agree to our use of cookies.