When Joe Maloney, secretary-treasurer of the Building and Construction Trades Dept., AFL-CIO, heard that ENR editors had selected him to be the 40th recipient of the magazine’s Award of Excellence, his response was "jeepers creepers...oh Lordy, I have to pinch myself."

Bonding Winston and Maloney share a laugh in front of the mural at AFL-CIO’s offices. (Photo by Guy Lawrencefor ENR)

Those expressions were typical of the personality that Washington correspondent Sherie Winston came to know as she trailed along with Maloney in Washington, D.C.; Orlando, Fla.; and Kansas City, Mo., reporting this week’s Award of Excellence cover story.

As part of her Washington coverage, Winston has reported on BCTD for nearly 10 years. "But following Joe Maloney around for almost three months gave me an insider’s look at the group and its programs–particularly Helmets to Hardhats," says Winston. Whether interviewing Maloney or watching him run the meetings that fill his days, Winston enjoyed Maloney’s "often hilarious expressions." Winston dubbed them "Joe-isms." She says, "My favorite is tickety-boo, which means that something is satisfactory or all in order."

Helmets to Hardhats is tickety-boo. The BCTD-initiated program is helping thousands of veterans leaving the military find new career opportunities in construction. Through its Website, H2H has matched more than 17,000 vets with apprenticeship opportunities. Winston first wrote about H2H in June. Since then, the program has expanded its reach, recruiting vets for construction management careers and signing an agreement with the Veterans Administration’s Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Service to reach out to disabled vets.

ENR Contributing Photographer Michael Goodman photographed these apprentices on jobsites in San Diego, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and ENR Art Director Guy Lawrence photographed apprentices in New York and traveled to BCTD’s offices at AFL-CIO headquarters in Washington, D.C., to photograph Maloney in front of the floor-to-ceiling, labor-themed mural that attracts unionists and tourists alike.