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Dominic DeRubis

2011 Askins Achievement Award Recipient

"Dominic DeRubis is uncompromising and demanding of his own work and when when it comes to masonry training; he expects the best out of his students and has the ability to inspire mastery of the trade; those are the very qualities that make him a Master."

The nomination of Dominic “Dom” DeRubis for the 2011 Askins Achievement Award is intended to recognize a talented, articulate, passionate, and dedicated preservation Master Mason. Mr. Derubis’ skill and craftsmanship as has been demonstrated by his work on hundreds of National Historical Landmark and National Register historic structures throughout the USA. The qualities that perhaps best qualify Dominic as a candidate for the Askins Achievement Award are those that make him a Master; his tremendous talent with stone, brick, and mortar, his patience, his knowledge of historic masonry techniques and materials, his humor, and perhaps most importantly the communications skill to pass his trade skill and knowledge to others. Dominic DeRubis is uncompromising and demanding of his own work and when when it comes to masonry training; he expects the best out of his students and has the ability to inspire mastery of the trade; those are the very qualities that make him a Master.

Dom entered the masonry trade as a young boy. At an early age, Dom joined the union and completed an apprenticeship program while working with the family masonry firm in central Pennsylvania. For the better part of the next 30 years Dom remained employed as a mason in the private sector. During this career, Dom developed a broad range of masonry skills of which many would consider to be at the master level. In 1989, Dom became employed with the National Park Service’s with what was then called the Williamsport Preservation Training Center and is today known as the Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC). Dom’s role then, as it is currently, was to serve as the Lead Mason on preservation projects and the Lead Masonry Instructor for the organization. Since that time Dom has further improved his skills and knowledge, as they pertain to the preservation of historic masonry structures, becoming one of the most experienced and knowledgeable preservation masons within the National Park Service. Dom has always been a major advocate for the training of those responsible for the maintenance and repair of our national treasures. His personal experience with an apprenticeship and his understanding of the value of formal training for the development of trade skills has been something that Dom has always supported and promoted.

One of Dom’s major roles with the HPTC is to instruct, mentor, and guide those responsible for the care and stewardship of our cultural resources. During his tenure with the HPTC Dom has taught literally hundreds of employees of the National Park Service and its partners reaching people from Alaska and Hawaii to Florida and Maine. This training in traditional masonry trade skills has been provided to course participants of all masonry skill levels during both formal and informal training sessions. A very high percentage of the training has been accomplished through “hands-on” demonstrations and participation. Curriculum for these sessions has addressed every aspect of masonry from basic raking and repointing of masonry to material selection and preparation, stone cutting and carving, rendering, and the reassembly of complex structures. Dom’s skills and knowledge have been exhibited on a continuing basis during these training sessions. Dom’s personality and obvious desire to teach others is perhaps one of his strongest attributes making him one of the most sought after instructors within the National Park Service. His ability and desire to train others is exemplary. He is very well respected and is held in high regard by his co-workers and HPTC’s clients. In order to accomplish all that he has in his career, Dom has had to make many personal sacrifices. He has spent much of his time away from home while serving the organization. In addition to Dom’s employment with the National Park Service he has also served as a masonry instructor at Admiral Perry Area Vocational-Technical School in Ebensburg, PA. This role has allowed Dom to share his skills with young individuals entering the masonry trade.

As the Lead Mason at the National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center (HPTC) Mr. DeRubis has had the opportunity to dedicate a great deal of his career to the hands-on training of maintenance employees and trades people both within and outside the National Park Service. Hundreds of preservation mechanics have benefited as a direct result of attending a workshop or participating in a preservation project where Dominic DeRubis has served as an instructor or as the Lead Mason. Dom’s master level masonry skills have been sought out and applied to the preservation of some of America’s great historic structures to include the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, the White House, Fort Jefferson, Castillo De San Marcos, and various canals, bridges, and monuments. The effect of scores of individuals that have learned the art of masonry preservation by working alongside Dom must be measured by the improved condition of many of this nation’s most treasured landmarks, and it is for these lifetime achievements that Dominic DeRubis is nominated for the 2011 Askins Achievement Award. 

Note: Mr. DeRubis retired from the National Park Service in December 2010, but continues to share his knowledge and skills as an instructor at HPTC workshops and training programs.

Nomination statement by Chris Robinson, Deputy Superintendent, National Park Service Historic Preservation Training Center 

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