STRATFORD, Conn. - Frank Fitzgerald, 40, an HVAC installer here, was named Dickies 2005 winner of the 14th Annual American Worker of the Year Award for Connecticut.

He was nominated by his wife Kristen, who wrote in her winning essay, "He works hard and is responsible - his boss relies on him to get the job done. Frank always puts his family and employer first."

Fitzgerald has worked for ENCON Heating and Air Conditioning for 16 years. He said he has been working in HVAC since he was a teenager. "I really enjoy the people I work with and get to meet, which makes my job interesting," he said. "There's some danger in what I do, being on ladders and scaffoldings, but I've walked away with only a few stitches."

"The American work ethic always shines through in the top entries," said Jon Ragsdale, vice president of marketing for the Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Co., Fort Worth, Texas. "These are the unsung heroes of our economy, who take pride in doing a good job every day without public recognition."

Williamson-Dickie manufactures work wear, including pants, shirts, shorts, overalls, coveralls, jeans, painters wear, and outerwear.

Publication date: 11/14/2005