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Putnam County Building Trades Scholarship

One of the first Building Trades classes.

Year Founded

2013 Board of Directors of Putnam County Building and Vocational Trades Inc. (John Wood, Rick Smiley, Donnie Watson, Tony Criss, Keith Hutcheson, Steven Cox, Steve Thomas, Nancy Michael, Peggy Miller, Monty Montgomery, and David Archer)

Purpose of Fund
The primary purpose of the fund shall be to provide educational financial support to a student or students residing in Putnam County who wish to pursue a career in the building trades.

History of Fund (written by David Archer)
My wife, Vicki, and family moved to Greencastle in the fall of 1978 when I was selected to serve as the first Director of the Putnam County Vocational District, which is now called the Area 30 Career Center. After a year of study and meeting with community leaders, three programs were started in 1979 with approval from the Putnam County school corporations. A year later, I proposed adding a fourth program in the construction trades area with the assistance of forming a not-for-profit building trades corporation to help with the cost of the program. It was a no brainer for the board of superintendents to approve and a new chance for our students to gain experiences in the building trades profession. I think at the time the superintendents were a little skeptical that we would find community leaders who would be willing to help us borrow money to build a house by students! 

We gathered together business leaders and members of the local building trades industry to form the Putnam County Vocational Building Trades, INC. in the spring of 1980 and through the efforts of the following people, Larry Haltom, Laurel Corbin, Ralph Hutcheson, Francis O'Brien, John Wood, Jerry Masten, Bill Marley, Barry Grimes, Monty Montgomery, John Zeiner, Lannie Allee, Bob Evans, Frank Hutcheson, John Colvin, Bob Gaston, and myself, the Corporation was formed. After numerous meetings and organizational hoops, we were on our way to offering this program in the fall of 1980. I might add that if you remember during the 1980-81 school year we had rising interest rates, I think around 10% but we were still able to sell the house which I believe is still occupied by the same owner. The proceeds from the sale of that home was then used to build another house the next year next door to the original house. But it was a tough time in the housing market, and the Board decided to search for projects that did not require any financing on our part and save the profit from the first to homes for future home construction.

The Putnam County/Area 30 Vocational Building Trades program operated for over 31 years with the Putnam County Building and Vocational Trades, Inc. securing financing to build houses and other projects in the community. Some projects included two houses on Hammon Street, three houses on Avenue D, the community building at Jaycee Park, shelters in  Robe-Ann Park, the Area 30 School remodel and various other projects both private and public around the Greencastle area. 

Over 900 students participated in the program under the instruction of Dan Miller who retired in the late 90's and the Donnie Watson who served as the instructor until 2011. This program was a springboard for students to either enter the building trades profession or seek additional training to pursue a career in the building trades field. Many students who graduated from the program are currently working in the Building Trades field in Putnam County. 

In 2011, enrollment in the program declined and it was determined by the Area 30 Board and Director to suspend the program until adequate enrollment was achieved. After another year of inadequate enrollment the Area 30 Board terminated the program.

So it was a bitter-sweet moment for the 2013 Board of Directors of Putnam County Building and Vocational Trades Inc. (John Wood, Rick Smiley, Donnie Watson, Tony Criss, Keith Hutcheson, Steven Cox, Steve Thomas, Nancy Michael, Peggy Miller, Monty Montgomery, and myself), to make a decision on the future of the Building Trades Corporation. After several meetings this last year it was decided to close out the Non-Profit Corporation and that the best use of the proceeds that had accumulated over the duration of the building trades program be set aside for scholarships through the Putnam County Community Foundation.  After meeting with Elaine, the Board decided to award a scholarship or scholarships beginning in 2015 to Putnam County students pursuing a construction trades career. 

We feel confident that the establishment of this scholarship will help to continue the life blood of needed trades people in our Putnam County Community. I appreciate the hard work that the Building Trades Board provided for the last 33 years. Members of the Building Trades Board will be active in the scholarship selection process starting in 2015.

Scholarship Ricipients


Alexandra Weliever




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