After success at its inaugural event in September 2011, Irwin Tools is once again celebrating National Trademen Day. Marked on the third Friday of September, National Tradesmen Day celebrates and thanks the hardworking men and women who help build America and keep it running.
“At Irwin, recognizing the efforts of America’s tradesmen is part of our brand’s DNA,” says vice president of marketing Curt Weber. “America’s tradesmen are electricians, plumbers, welders, drywall installers, framers, masons, carpenters, auto mechanics, and more. They are our nation’s real working hands.”
Fast Cars & High Praise
Celebrations gearing up for National Tradesmen Day took place in late August during the NASCAR Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. In addition to giving away more than 1,000 grandstand tickets to trades workers, the company honored 23 “Tradesmen of the Track” during pre-race ceremonies, and 300 professional tradesmen served as Grand Marshals for the race. As with last year's race day celebration, Irwin's presence at the event will also include thank-you signage around the speedway and a giant message board where fans can thank their favorite trades workers with a personal message that everyone can see.
"Irwin employees had extremely moving reactions to last year's National Tradesmen Day," the company says. "One especially inspired employee described an interaction with a few tradesmen, saying:
'You could tell that they had never really been thanked for the work they do because when we initially approached them, their automatic response was, "No thanks, we don’t have time." When we asked them if they wanted T-shirts, one of them said, "Sure, what do we have to do?" The beauty of that question was that they’d already done it. They do it every day. To see grown men brought to tears, stunned that we were thanking them, was an unbelievable experience. There is no [promotional] video, no set of words, no picture that can illuminate Irwin’s purpose more than that simple act that took 10 minutes.'"
Back to School
Irwin also sponsors career training organization SkillsUSA, and recently partnered with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) on its Build Your Future campaign. After recent Build Your Future skills competitions, Irwin rewarded top winners in the automotive tech and carpentry categories with an "ultimate race experience," including stints as honorary pit-crew members, and a trip to the Irwin corporate office for a behind-the-scenes look at how the brand's tools are developed.
The company’s goal is to encourage more students to consider trade-oriented career paths. A recent survey from ManpowerGroup, citing skilled trades as the most difficult positions to fill, noted that a focus on four-year university education “has resulted in the decline of vocational/technical programs.” To that end, Irwin Tools president Ross Porter says that the company wants to “focus the nation’s attention on the vital role of technical training in our high schools and post-secondary institutions.” Outside the racetrack and the classroom, Irwin is encouraging small businesses to host their own National Tradesmen Day events and to spread the word to consumers to thank the hardworking crews that help them out every day. Last year, Irwin partnered with the Gaffney, S.C. chapter of the Home Builders' Association (HBA) and Cherokee Technology Center to provide lunch for 200-300 local tradesmen and students enrolled in construction and carpentry trade programs at Cherokee Tech and the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind. In New York City, next to the World Trade Center site, the company handed out T-shirts and tools while treating hundreds of tradesmen constructing the Freedom Tower to lunch on National Tradesmen Day to show the company's appreciation for a their dedication to building our country's newest symbol of freedom and prosperity.
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