Welcome to the 2023 UVA FM Apprenticeship Program Graduation

1:30 p.m., November 15, 2023 | Newcomb Hall Ballroom

Each of the graduates recognized here today have completed four years of classroom and on-the-job training to achieve journey-level skill in their chosen trade.

Today's Agenda

  • Welcome and Introductions

    Marcus Klaton, MC, Apprenticeship Alum (Plumbing, 2019)

  • Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government Relations Address

    Colette Sheehy, Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government Relations, University of Virginia

  • Chief Facilities Officer's Address

    Don Sundgren, Associate Vice President & Chief Facilities Officer, University of Virginia Facilities Management

  • Recognition of Graduates

    Collette Sheehy, Don Sundgren, and Faith Clayton, Registered Apprenticeship Consultant/RAC Field Supervisor at Virginia Department of Workforce Development & Advancement

  • Presentation of Ed Ford Award

    Marcus Klaton with Kathleen Ford and Richard Bonnie

  • Closing Remarks

    Marcus Klaton

  • Group Photo of Graduates

    Keith Woodson, University of Virginia Facilities Management Occupational Programs

Following this event, families and friends are encouraged to take photos and stay to enjoy cupcakes to celebrate the graduates in the adjacent Main Lounge.

Special thanks to the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry Registered Apprenticeship Program for past support of the program. Thanks also to UVA SVPO leadership, and UVA FM leaders for their continued support of the UVA FM Apprenticeship Program.

Meet the Graduates


Joshua Cunningham portrait

Joshua Cunningham

“Getting through UVA's Apprenticeship Program is the best way I could have gotten into the skilled trades when I did. I love the job, and the skills I’ve learned here are going to serve me well in my career and in my personal life.”

Garrett Hatmaker Portrait

Garrett Hatmaker

“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” — Mark Twain

Charles Henderson Portrait

Charles Henderson

“This program has helped me develop the skills I need to become an electrician, given me the tools to use those skills, and encouraged me to grow in my career as well as in life.”

Rebecca Hord Portrait

Rebecca Hord

“When I applied to the program, it was on a whim. I never really expected to get in. I was aimless and just trying things out. When I got in, I was shocked and just decided to go with the flow and see how I liked it. Little did I know I would fall in love with the work. It opened up a whole new world for me to find my career in an industry I love.”

Bryce Humphreys Portrait

Bryce Humphreys

“I just want to thank everyone that has shared their knowledge with me to become the electrician I am.”

Hunter Monroe Portrait

Hunter Monroe

“College was not for me, and I was not sure what I wanted to do for work. I was very fortunate to be accepted as an apprentice and I now have acquired a skillful trade and a career at the University of Virginia.”


Ashley Bell portrait

Ashley Bell

“After years spent working in an office environment, I was looking to get out from behind the desk, so when I saw the apprenticeship, I decided to take the opportunity to immerse myself in something new. It has been a learning experience, in more ways than one!”

Travis Castellanos Portrait

Travis Castellanos

“Hard work and dedication pays off.”

Pedro Gonzalez portrait

Pedro Gonzalez

“Four years ago, we started shaping our future. Today the effort, discipline and perseverance are starting to pay off, the journey is not over yet, this is the real start line, lets raise the bar every day with enthusiasm. Huge THANKS to everyone at the zones and to the peers behind the computers at UVA FM as well. The knowledge accrued is now ours.”

Blake Shifflett portrait

Blake Shifflett

“The Apprenticeship Program has helped pave a way for my career and future. I have gained knowledge and skill from some of the best mechanics here at UVA. I'm very thankful and blessed for the opportunity to be a part of UVA and the Apprenticeship Program.”


Allen Anderson portrait

Allen Anderson

“I learned the importance of the skilled trades and how meaningful education is as the same time. Coming into the program knowing nothing about plumbing, to being ready to sit for the license exam is extremely exciting. I am already teaching and training the next generation of apprentices and that makes me feel proud to be able to do for someone else what others have done for me.”

John DeBilzan portrait

John DeBilzan

“In the last couple years I have learned that if you give it your best effort, and put your back into it that no matter how big the clog it will never stand a chance against a determined plumber.”

Ryan McCarthy portrait

Ryan McCarthy

“I joined the apprenticeship to learn the trades-skills that are valuable regardless of what the future holds. The last four years have been enlightening and fulfilling beyond measure. Thank you to my friends and family, on-the-job trainers, and mentors who have been on the path with me.”

Gabriel Reedy portrait

Gabriel Reedy

“This journey has meant a lot to me. Not only have I learned skills that will benefit me throughout my life, but I also met many great teachers and made some good friends along the way. I am thankful I was chosen to be a part of this group and will remember my time as an apprentice.”

About the Ed Ford Outstanding Graduate Award

Edward R. Ford (1906-1985) was born in Brooklyn, New York. The youngest of seven, he left school at 14 to become a mason following the death of his parents. As a mason, Ed worked on many New York City landmarks, including a herringbone-patterned brick path that was a gift from the Barnard graduating class to Columbia University. The masons involved in its construction were invited to attend the Columbia graduation ceremony, where Nicholas Murray Butler, then president of Columbia, nodded to them and said, “These bricks have been laid with a mathematical certainty.” Butler's words were remembered, and proudly repeated, throughout Ed's life.

Later, Ed married Catherine Gibney and started a construction company construction company in New Jersey. He also served in the Navy during World War II. Ed was father to Morna, Kathleen, and Kevin, and was known for his great charm and wit, his devotion to his family and for a lifetime filled with charitable works.

The Ed Ford Outstanding Apprenticeship Graduate Award was established at FM by Kathleen to honor the memory of her father and continue his legacy of giving. This endowment supports a yearly cash award to an outstanding UVA graduating apprentice. It celebrates and recognizes contributions to their workplace and acknowledges their exceptional progress in academic studies and professional skills development. Award winners demonstrate a significant commitment to achieving the best results across their trade, have inspirational qualities, and serve as a positive role model for others.

Please remember to view the Ed Ford Outstanding Graduate Award plaque honoring past recipients at today's celebration.

National Apprenticeship Week

Graphic stating 'National Apprenticeship Week November 13-19, 2023'

Join UVA FM in celebrating National Apprenticeship Week this week, November 13-19. NAW is a nationwide celebration where employers, industry associations, labor organizations, community-based organizations, workforce partners, education providers, and government leaders host events to showcase the successes and value of Registered Apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are instrumental in rebuilding our economy, advancing racial and gender equity, building a pipeline to good quality jobs, and supporting underserved communities. Learn more.