Belmont College Professor Receives National Award
St. Clairsville, OH (September 17, 2014) – One of the highlights of the 2014 annual International Preservation Trades Workshop Conference, recently held at Belmont College, was the presentation of the Askins Achievement Award to Building Preservation/Restoration (BPR) Program Chair Dave Mertz.
Mertz received the award during the IPTW annual Awards Dinner held at the Capitol Theatre Ballroom in Wheeling, West Virginia on Saturday, September 13.
The Askins Achievement Award is named in honor of James S. Askins, founder of the National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center. The nominee for this award must be an advocate of the trades, have contributed efforts above and beyond the norm to help move the trades’ community forward. The award represents more than just quality work and good ethics it also means challenging others to work for the betterment of the community around them.
The award was presented to Mertz by Cathie Senter, Belmont College BPR Instructor, on behalf of Simeon Warren, Dean Emeritus of the American College Building Arts in Charleston, South Carolina. Warren nominated Mertz for the award.
In speaking about Mertz, Ms. Senter quoted many preservation professionals who praised Mertz’ talent and professionalism; “Dave’s belief in applied learning, and his ability to craft a long-standing, viable program at Belmont College, is testimony to his passion for hands-on learning,” said Dr. Ted Ligibel, Director Historic Preservation Program at Eastern Michigan University. “He is a preservation icon; a pioneer whose dedication to fostering the preservation trades helped revolutionize the world of historic preservation education.”
According to Thomas McGrath, Jr., Retired Superintendent at the National Park Service, “Dave Mertz is an innovator, pioneer, and leader in the development of preservation trades learning and skills training. For almost three decades, Dave and his team at Belmont College have inspired and trained scores of preservation advocates, and construction managers through a rigorous degree program. Dave has been a leader in the nationwide expansion of preservation programs in community colleges across the nation. Scores and scores of graduates of his program now provide skilled stewardship for our nations most valued structures. His accomplishments in the field of preservation trades and technology have been consistently outstanding and the presentation of the 2014 Askins Achievement Award is most fully deserved.”
“I am very honored and humbled to receive this award,” said Mertz. “I have been blessed to be surrounded by faculty members and remarkable craftsman over the years who have helped make the BPR program what it is today. It is a privilege to assist in forming the next generation of preservation trades professionals.”
Mertz serves as the Director of the BPR program at Belmont College, a post he has held since the program’s inception in 1989. He is a graduate of Kansas State University with a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture, as well as a certificate in Regional & Community Planning. He currently serves as architectural consultant to the St. Clairsville Board of Architectural Review and lectures frequently on technical aspects of historic preservation and community revitalization.
Mertz has served as Chair of the National Council for Preservation Education and as a board member and vice-president of both Heritage Ohio and the Ohio Preservation Alliance, Ohio’s two state-wide preservation non-profits. He has also served on the advisory board of the Preservation Leadership Institute of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the editorial board of Preservation Forum, the nation’s scholarly journal on Historic Preservation. He has also authored numerous articles in national publications relating to trades education.
The Preservation Trades Network is a non-profit membership organization founded to provide education, networking and outreach for the traditional building trades. PTN was established on the principle that conservation of the built environment is fundamentally dependent on the work of skilled people in all of the traditional building trades who preserve, maintain and restore historic buildings, and build architectural heritage for the future.
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