By Nancie A. Balun-Boughton
SPECIAL TO CEG
The National Kids Construction Club (NKCC) will celebrate its seventh anniversary by hosting its annual NKCC Tri-State Benefit Gala on Saturday, March 24, at the North Maple Inn in Baking Ridge, N.J.
Each year past and present honorees, trustees, sponsors, members and guests come together to celebrate NKCC and to recognize outstanding citizens who work in the construction industry. Honorees are chosen by members of their club or association.
This year’s award-winners are:
• Linda Wetzel of JCP&L in Morristown, N.J.;
• Frank Malpere Jr. of Quality Building & Remodeling in Effort, Pa.;
• Victor M. Nichols of Diversity Marketing and Communications in Union, N.J.;
• John Rothberg of L.N. Rothberg & Son in Middlesex, N.J.;
• Richard Sponzilli of Sponzilli Landscape Group in Fairfield, N.J.; and
• Brendan Wyant of Avalon Blueprinting and Copy in Chester, N.Y.
Wetzel, a two-term past-president of the NKCC, will receive the “Outstanding NKCC Volunteer Award” for her many years of dedicated service to the club.
She is a member of the New Jersey Builders Association (NJBA) and the Community Builders Association (CBA). She has volunteered for many years at the NJBA including two years as chairperson of the Atlantic Builders Convention.
Employed by JCP&L of Morristown for 22 years, Wetzel is an award-winning promotions manager.
Frank Malpere Jr.
Malpere will receive the club’s “Outstanding Volunteer Award” for his years of dedication to the club and for helping to create and chair the newly formed NKCC Pocono PA Chapter.
He is a member of the NJBA, CBA and Pocono Builders Association.
He is an award-winning remodeler, who received the NJBA “Remodeler Hall of Fame” award last year, and has been written about in numerous publications.
For many years, he has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity and helped form “Rebuilding Together of Morris County,” formerly known as “Christmas in April,” which helps low-income homeowners and seniors.
Victor M. Nichols
Nichols has 24 years of experience in the marketing field.
As the founding partner of Diversity Marketing and Communications based in Union, he has been instrumental in helping the NKCC launch its new “Youth Home Safety” campaign, which works with students, families and those in the construction industry.
He serves as a trustee of the newly formed NKCC North Jersey Chapter.
For the past 15 years, he has volunteered his time with the steering committee of “SOS-Taste of the Nation,” that raises money for the New Jersey Community Food Bank.
The NKCC North Jersey Chapter nominated Nichols who will receive an “Outstanding Volunteer Award.”
Rothberg has been the president of L.N. Rothberg & Son for the past 15 years.
He comes from a construction family and worked from a very early age with his dad who started the business. Rothberg followed in his father’s footsteps.
He is highly respected by his peers of the New Jersey Land Improvement Contractors (LICA) and the Equipment Managers Council.
He serves as chairman of the board of NJ LICA and serves on the national LICA insurance committee. He also is a member of NJ Pavers who in 2006 voted him “Sub-Contractor of the Year.”
Rothberg is winner of the NKCC “Outstanding Industry Leader Award.”
Sponzilli, president for the past 32 years of the Sponzilli Landscape Group based in Fairfield, will be presented the NKCC “Outstanding Industry Leader Award.” He was highly recommended by his peers.
Sponzilli has a long history of working with and helping disadvantaged youth. He has given much time and money to various organizations, including St. Joseph’s Orphanage, Dismas Rehabilitation Center, and the Straight & Narrow Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center.
His philosophy for at-risk youth is simply: Everyone deserves a second chance.
Wyant has been the president of Avalon Blueprinting and Copy Center in Chester, N.Y. for the past 25 years.
He was nominated by the newly formed NKCC Hudson Valley N.Y. Chapter, headed by Peter Berman, and will receive the NKCC “Outstanding Industry Leader Award.”
Wyant plans to be actively involved with the Hudson Valley Chapter where he will serve as vice president of the board of trustees.
He has a long history of giving back to members of his community. He volunteers at the local Habitat for Humanity, donates printing needs to worthy organizations like the Chester Kiwanis Club and Historical Society.
Wyant also lends his support to the Chester Little League and the high school, and is a member of the Hudson Valley Builders Association and Orange County Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to recognizing these six honorees, the NKCC will present the Joseph F. Balun Scholarship Award, and new for this year, the John Morella Scholarship Award.
Prior to the gala, there will be a national convention in the afternoon to help the newly formed local chapters develop opportunities for educating youth about home safety, tool identification and our industrial heritage.
The NKCC South Jersey Chapter, headed by Walt Barksdale, will bring new trustees that come from the Builders League of South Jersey and New Jersey Shore Builders Association, including Joe DeCerbo, Jack Povoa and Jim McClure.
Gerald J. Buiso, NKCC president and national director for the Land Improvement Contractors of America, will host the gala and set forth his agenda for the year.
Buiso plans to increase sponsorship opportunities, create many more new local chapters and work with New Jersey’s governor and other state governors to forge a high school home safety course that all students would be required to take before graduation.
“Given what we now know about the proliferation of home fires and home accidents, we need to keep our youth educated and informed whether they live in a dorm, apartment or home. Who better then to spread the word about home safety for our youth but those in the many professional aspects of construction,” said Buiso.
For more information about attending the NKCC Tri-State Gala, call 908/604-5995.
For more information about NKCC, visit www.nkcconline.org.
(Nancie A. Balun-Boughton is founder and executive director of NKCC.)