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David Gibney

2008 Askins Achievement Award Recipient

"He has raised the bar and challenged others to the task. His ethics in practicing his craft are at a master skill level, promoting him as a driving force in moving the preservation trades forward."

Born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, David began his career in 1971 working a construction job while an art student at Indiana University. He bought his first old house in 1976 in South bend, which led to purchasing a number of houses, thus forming the Old Building Recycling Company in 1977, restoring old houses in South Bend's Historic district. During this time he served on the Board of Renew, Inc. one of the first non-profits of its kind to assist inner city residents to buy and restore their homes. Furthering his life goal he joined the National Trust's Restoration Workshop Study Program from 1980-82. He was instrumental in assisting with projects at Lyndhurst Estate, NY, Woodrow House and the Decatur House in Washington DC, Chesterwood, Clivden, and the famed Drayton Hall in South Carolina.

In 1983 he ended up back in South Bend to serve as Project Manager for Neighborhood Housing Services, restoring inner city houses. I imagine that with his experience with the National Trust's east coast properties and wanting to be where history happened first, prompted his move to Maryland in 1984, where he began working for Doug Reed of Preservation Associates, Inc. He figured he could make a living out of working and teaching the preservation trades. So in 1988 he formed Historic Restoration Specialists, Inc. His ad states “preservation specialists and fine artisans” and he has honorably lived up to those labels. To the present time, his company continues to establish itself with a wide variety of quality restoration trade projects throughout Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. His clients include private individuals, historic societies, the National Park service, churches, state and local municipalities. While known for specialized carpentry in restoration of windows and doors, he is accomplished in masonry, plaster, decorative plaster and timber framing.

With his professional training in art and preservation skills, he is not only blessed with the ability to restore almost any type of object in our built environment, but has a need to share with others his knowledge. He has evolved as a known teacher/trainer of the preservation trades. His professional lecture and teaching experience includes: seminar Instructor in masonry, plaster, preservation carpentry, preservation methods, window and porch repair, comprehensive restoration methods, and Early American Building lecture series at Harford, Frederick, Allegany Community Colleges in Maryland, American College of the Building Arts, Wilson College, Shepherd College, , University of Pennsylvania, Virginia Community College, and the Smithsonian Institute. He has lectured and taught on many occasions with hands-on workshops at Historical Societies and preservation group throughout Maryland and Virginia, often without compensation.

He has become a self-taught man that craves knowledge of our trades, with the ability and desire to share that knowledge. I know, I have witnessed this on many occasions. With over 200 books in his library, 90% of them are art and restoration manuals. He has associated himself with people in the know to become one of the persons "in the know".  His heart and mind are continuously giving 100% to teach, demonstrate and work hard for the people who want to learn. He is inspired by three major projects: the Preservation Trades Network, Habitat for Humanity and helping the people of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

He has been involved with PTN since its birth, always improving his demos, always staying late, and answering the final question. David is a voice of experience and passion for his work, with an answer worthy of any ear. As a member of the PTN Board of Directors twice over, he is an advocate for PTN where ever he travels.  He has volunteered with the Hagerstown, MD chapter of Habitat for Humanity since its inception in the early 1990's. He served as Project Manager for the first 12 houses built; often teaching volunteers tool-trade skills. In the fall of 2006-07 he taught a group of women the skills to complete the first Woman's Built house.

He recently completed his fourth trip to New Orleans, since Katrina. He was the driving force that made the production and training happen at IPTW 2006. In May of 2007 he funded himself and three volunteers to work in New Orleans, training homeowners in restoration methods, and skills for selecting qualified contractors. Recently this past March he spent a week training Hands On, Inc. volunteering on window restoration projects. He has a heart-felt desire to help the people of New Orleans regain their life and dignity. I know this, because that is what he is all about.

In closing this nomination, I can honestly say in the past twenty years I have known him, he has given me sound advice on every question I have ask him and always gave me a correct procedure to a preservation trade question. For the past 10 years we have become good friends and I can honorably say that I have never known a more gracious humanitarian, in all aspects of his life, than David Gibney. He has raised the bar and challenged others to the task. His ethics in practicing his craft are at a master skill level, promoting him as a driving force in moving the preservation trades forward. I'm proud to nominate him for this honor and to be his friend. Thank you David Gibney.

Nomination statement by J. Michael Logan
Supervisor of Heritage Conservation
Howard County Recreation and Parks Department

Preservation Trades Network
PO Box 442205
Detroit, MI 48244

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