Apprentice of the Year goes to Southern Air
Virginia’s Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) named Southern Air’s Nathan McMurray, Electrical Prefabrication Designer, Outstanding Apprentice of the Year for 2021. Since 1938, the Virginia Registered Apprenticeship Program has combined mentorship, on-the-job training and classroom instruction to create skilled and productive tradespeople. After graduating, apprentices receive a Completion Certificate and Journeyman card, which are national recognized credential s confirming their qualifications.
Virginia DOLI awards those who excelled during their apprenticeships, showed leadership in the field, good grades in the classroom and earned (or will) journeyman card during the year. McMurray recently graduated from Southern Air’s electrical apprenticeship program with exemplary attendance and outstanding commitment to his coursework. His electrical path guided his (race) way from state apprentice, to mechanic, lead mechanic and now a very talented electrical designer. He has come full-circle, returning to the same apprenticeship classroom, though now as a certified electrical instructor. McMurray knows he didn’t get here alone and understands the value of dedicated mentorship.
“Joe Craighead was my mentor in the field and poured so much in to me that I wanted to give back to others, for him,” McMurray says. “No matter what I had a question about, Joe took the time to stop what he was doing to make sure I understood fully what we were talking about. The way Joe worked with me is what a mentorship should be. That’s the type of mentorship and the approach I want to take when teaching these guys. I want to be same type of person as Joe.”
McMurray is teaching a class of 12 in his first year as an electrical apprenticeship instructor. After putting in his own 8-10 hour work day, he spends another six hours each week of the semester teaching classes at night. Those days are just as long for the students, as he so recently recalls.
“I’d like to congratulate Nathan for going through Southern Air’s apprenticeship program and continuing to grow in our company,” says Bill Maddox, Southern Air Electrical Vice President. “Nathan speaks to middle and high school students about the construction industry and our apprenticeship program and is the head of our electrical prefab design, which is going great. I can see a big future for him here with what he’s doing and how’s he doing it.”
The award presentation was hosted virtually, providing McMurray’s leadership and co-workers the opportunity to enjoy the announcement alongside of him.
“I’m so proud of everyone selected and I wish I could give you your certificate in person,” says Kathleen Eddington, Assistant Director of Virginia’s Division of Registered Apprenticeship. “This is a great program and I’m honored every year to be part of this process and read the wonderful things your employers say about you. Thank you very much; we hope you feel honored and privileged. We’re always happy honor hard work and promote registered apprenticeships in Virginia.”
Congratulations on your award, Nathan! You have represented yourself, Southern Air and our trade apprenticeships in the most excellent ways!
Joe Craighead’s legacy is safe in your hands.