Chamber presents Skilled Trades Professional Awards

Each year since 2005, the Carteret County Chamber of Commerce has saluted men and women in the county who “work with their hands and their heads” to make things better.

They are the “Skilled Trades Professionals of the Year.”
The 2015 award winners are Sherman Walton of Carteret Health Care in Morehead City and Mary Sherwood of Creative Wood in Newport.
“They are the ‘sure thing’ when it comes to doing their jobs with professionalism to satisfy their customers,” said Kerry Youngblood, Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.
Dr. Youngblood, who is President of Carteret Community College, began his career as a certified welder and remains a vocal proponent of vocational education.
“Skilled trades jobs cannot be out-sourced. They are critical to all sectors of our local economy. Skilled trades professionals make an enormous contribution to our society, and trades professionals and craftsmen/craftswomen are compensated well.”

Sherman Walton of Carteret Health Care (Photo courtesy of Carteret Health Care)

Sherman Walton has been employed for more than 19 years as a plumber at Carteret Health Care (formerly Carteret General Hospital). He’s a 200 percent kind of a guy, says Tye Frost, Director of Engineering at Carteret Health Care.
“Sherman is a super plumber…but much more. He has taken on additional responsibilities and has learned the facilities’ infrastructure – electrical plant, fire alarm system, sprinkler system, chill water plant operations, boiler plant operations and HVAC for the entire setting, including the Operating Room and clean rooms. He can rebuild any piece of equipment…nothing is beyond his abilities,” Frost said.
“Sherman’s goal is to deliver support to the staff, giving whatever they need to care for patients no matter what is asked, no matter what day of the week and no matter what time of day. His specialty is focusing on ways to avoid future problems; he constantly inspects equipment for preventative maintenance and looks for solutions to ensure that patients are as comfortable as possible,” Frost said.
“Beyond his technical skills, you might find Sherman repairing a boiler, adjusting the temperature in a patient’s room to cool it down or handling a sink that just won’t cut off,” Frost said. “Sherman always gets the job done. Staff and patients frequently mention him by name as having given 200 percent toward a job.”


Mary Sherwood of Creative Wood in Newport received the Chamber’s 2015 Skilled Trades Professional of the Year Award along with Sherman Walton of Carteret Health Care (Photo by Dan Williams)

Mary Sherwood “knows furniture and wood,” said friend and customer Pam Hanson, who is Carteret County’s Clerk of Court. “It’s in her genes. Her father was a carpenter/furniture refinisher and her mother was “an antique person.”
When Mary’s father died, she was 18 years old and took over the business. Creative Wood has not only survived, it has thrived under Mary’s leadership and guidance, Hanson said. Creative Wood now has six full-time employees and numerous sub-contractors.
Mary took advantage of the free training workshops and seminars offered in the evenings through the Carteret Community College Small Business Center to learn how to improve her business.
“Her dedication and drive to succeed epitomize what small business is all about,” Hanson said. “She’s the best there is at furniture refinishing, but Mary also creates beautiful and practical wooden bowls and other artistic creations out of wood that make great gifts. You will see her supporting local home and garden shows or festivals as a vendor.
“In her personal life, Mary devotes what spare time she has to local ministry by delivering meals to shut-ins and teaching soap making to those in recovery. She makes us proud,” Hanson concluded.