HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — On Friday, September 20,  Irwin Tools recognized and thanked professional tradesmen — plumbers, electricians, roofers, bricklayers, woodworkers, carpenters and other trade professionals — during the third annual National Tradesmen Day.

Starting on Wednesday, Sept. 18, Irwin hosted events throughout Chicago to celebrate the day. In New York City, IRWIN also hosted events that started on Sept. 18 with the main event taking place on Sept. 20 at the One World Trade Center.

Three years ago, IRWIN Tools started National Tradesmen Day to inspire the nation to show more appreciation and gratitude for skilled workers. “This is a message that everyone in the industry can respond to and get on board with,” said Rich Mathews, Senior Vice President of Marketing for IRWIN Tools. “One of the exciting developments is that this is an important topic for our retailers and distributors that sell IRWIN tools. There is a lot of support across all channels of distribution.

“Nationals Tradesmen Day is something that IRWIN is committed to,” added Mathews. “This is year three in a very long-term commitment for the company. It’s a big issue, it is societal, economical and generational; it’s nothing that one person or brand can solve. It’s a passion and obligation IRWIN has — to do our part.”

Since IRWIN first set out to champion the vital role of tradesmen for building and maintaining the nation's infrastructure, IRWIN's employees and retail partners have personally thanked thousands of tradesmen and celebrated their unsung contributions across the country.

Earlier this year, IRWIN partnered with MediaPlanet Publishing to release its "Employing America" campaign. The campaign kicked off with an insert that appeared in USA Today in March. The campaign aims to educate readers about America's skilled labor gap, and according to the report, "The average skilled worker is 56 years old. By 2030, 79 million people will have retired, while only 41 million new workers will enter the workforce. Most vacated jobs will require training and expertise young people are not getting."

“As a society we haven’t placed enough value on the skilled trades,” said Mathews. “It’s such a crucial role that plays into building infrastructure and keeping it running. This campaign’s message is what starts the conversation about the skilled trades’ gap and how we continue to encourage young people to consider the trades. The numbers of people retiring in the trades are not going to be replaced at the current rate of new workers going into the trades.”

"IRWIN is thrilled about the momentum building across the country to bring more attention to the skilled labor gap and the employment opportunities for skilled tradesmen," said Mathews. "It's vitally important that we say thanks and show appreciation to these hard working men and women who deserve our recognition."

Leading up to Sept. 20, IRWIN launched a national television advertising campaign and coordinated celebrations and recognition events throughout the U.S.

The TV campaign started on August 24 at the IRWIN Tools Night Race, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race held at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tenn. “During the race we paid tribute to tradesmen,” said Mathews. “A contractor named John Teeples from Columbus, Ga., was honored. A contractor for 30 years, he is involved in his local community and has built homes, businesses and churches; he has even built homes for returning veterans. Teeples served as Grand Marshal for the event, leading the command for the 300 tradesmen that joined him on the track to deliver the most famous words in motorsports: "Drivers, start your engines!"

Besides National Tradesmen Day and Employing America campaigns, for a number of years Irwin has partnered with Skills USA, a national organization serving high school and college students who are preparing for careers in trade, technical and service occupations.  Irwin also donates tools to local schools, helping trade programs.

For updates and information about National Tradesmen Day, visit www.nationaltradesmenday.com or www.facebook.com/nationaltradesmenday.

IRWIN Tools manufactures and distributes a broad line of hand tools and power tool accessories under the IRWIN brand. IRWIN Tools is a part of Newell Rubbermaid's global portfolio of leading brands. For more information, call 1-800-GO-IRWIN or visit www.irwin.com. IRWIN invites the nation to celebrate National Tradesmen Day, on Sept. 20, 2013.