The genesis for District 8's construction awards began several years ago, when Linda Atkinson, a civil engineer supervisor with PennDOT's Bureau of Construction and Materials Quality Assurance Division, attended a District 5 winter school during which a Golden Boot Award was presented. She thought District 8 should have its own construction award and mentioned it to then-district Construction Services Engineer (and current acting DE) Kevin Keefe, P.E. Kevin liked the idea and decided to implement it after he was appointed district ADE for Construction.
The question was what to call it. Golden Boot was already taken, and several other options didn't quite roll off the tongue. Golden Hammer had a nice ring to it, however, and that is what it was called.
Well, now the award has a new name. It is the Linda Atkinson Golden Hammer Award, or simply, Linda's Hammer, in honor of Ms. Atkinson, who passed away in April 2022 following a courageous battle with cancer.
The award, presented for District 8 projects since 2020, is given in two categories – for projects costing less than $5 million, and projects costing more than $5 million – during the district's Construction Winter School.
During the award presentation in early February, Kevin remembered Linda as a dynamo who always looked forward to Winter School. She served for many years on the District 8 Winter School Committee, and provided valuable behind the scenes assistance, such as arranging speakers for the event.
"She was a huge contributor to our district and our district Winter School," Kevin said. "She meant a lot to me. I know she meant a lot to my District 8 staff. She will be forever missed in our hearts."
Ms. Atkinson's sister Melissa, Melissa's husband Anthony and sons Matthew and Jordan were on hand for the presentation.
Matthew spoke on behalf of the family, describing his aunt as a strong, determined, and hard-working person who would be proud and honored to be recognized by the award.
"The nominees and the winners of Linda's Hammer will now have Linda's stamp of approval," Kevin said. "Linda always spoke softly but carried a big hammer with her, so it is only appropriate that these awards are renamed after her."