Beginning this year, Restoration & Remediation has launched the Technician Award with the goal of celebrating restoration technician professionals, giving them the industrywide visibility they deserve for the very noble and frontline work they do.

Technician Award nominees can be in any level of their technician career and exhibit qualities such as leadership, career progress, a clear passion for the industry and making strides within their organizations and restoration overall.

Sponsored By:

Violand Management Associates logo

This year, there were 14 finalists for the Technician Award. Each nomination was carefully scored by a panel of industry judges and, of course, one finalist came out on top.


Meet 2023 Technician Award Winner Gabriel Peterson

Watch our interview with Gabriel

Gabriel wasn’t always a technician and like many of us, didn’t initially set out to be in the restoration and remediation industry. Starting out his career in the field of HVAC, Gabriel found his way to restoration while having a break between jobs. Immediately he began working for AdvantaClean, which is now called Lightspeed Restoration, for now 7 years. Within that time, Gabriel has grown in skill and diversified his knowledge.

Not only is it his knowledge that Gabriel works to diversify, but he’s also diversified Lightspeed Restoration’s service lines. With Gabriel’s help, Lightspeed has added water damage, odor control, and carpet cleaning services. His leadership has been proven time and again as he’s executed production work with the highest quality, and also trains junior technicians so they can take on more leadership roles themselves. 

Gabriel Peterson

While the company was in transition from AdvantaClean to Lightspeed Restoration, Gabriel aided in the company’s Violand strategic planning process for four years, both in preparation beforehand as well as accompanying execs to the retreat to put the plan together. Gabriel has helped shape the direction of the company with valuable input for many years. 

Gabriel’s industry certifications and awards include:

  • WRT
  • MICRO Mold Remediation Specialist
  • MICRO Mold Inspection Specialist

This is just the beginning of our winner’s certification list as he continues to grow and develop his knowledge. Gabriel is currently learning the ropes to be an estimator, inspecting and proposing jobs to help grow his business. 


Building Blocks

As we previously learned about our winner, not only did he help shape a large part of his company, but he’s also into shaping and training junior technicians so they can take on more leadership roles themselves. This has given him a vested interest in being an all-star player who has put himself in anywhere that he is needed, whether that involves working extra hours, coaching budding team leads through their challenges, repairing equipment and maintaining company vehicles.  

According to Lightspeed Restoration management, “Gabriel learns about his fellow technicians and helps them see their potential and place within the company, provides valuable feedback to management, and is always willing to try something new or come up with a creative solution to any problem.”

Gabriel is someone who doesn’t seek accolades with his work but is very deserving of them for his immense amount of dedication to his company and the industry in general.

“Gabriel is a pillar of strength and while he doesn't seek praise, I feel it is important for him to know how much we value and appreciate him. He has been so important to us for so long and we have shown that gratitude in as many ways as is possible, but this outside recognition would mean a lot to him.”
– Lightspeed Restoration Management


Peterson family

In His Free Time

In Gabriel’s free time he loves spending time with his family, which includes his wife and two children, a little boy and girl. When he’s not having family time he enjoys volunteering with youth groups in his area of Northern Virginia, or volunteering to be an aide for the elderly.

Gabriel also likes to play basketball in his free time, and, although he says he should do more of it, has most recently taken on working out. 


Meet the Runners-Up

Izzy Huerta

Israel (Izzy) Huerta/ Field Supervisor 
Bravo Restoration 

Israel, affectionately known as Izzy by many, boasts over a decade of experience in this industry! He embarked on his journey as an entry-level technician specializing in mitigating emergency situations involving water, mold, fire, and biohazard issues. In a remarkably short span, he not only gained the respect of his colleagues but also garnered admiration from numerous industry professionals.

What makes Israel's journey even more remarkable is that English is his second language. Nonetheless, he rapidly ascended the career ladder, mastering all the intricacies of mitigation along the way. As the years passed, he discovered his true passion for construction.

Today, a little over ten years since he embarked on this path, Israel has rightfully earned his position as a field supervisor overseeing both the mitigation and repairs departments. His dedication and expertise continue to shine, making him an invaluable asset to the Bravo Restoration team.

Earl Ewoldt

Earl Ewoldt/ Mitigation Manager
Rare Restoration 

With over 12 years of experience and training, Earl is a leader that truly came up from the truck.

Earl is responsible for training next-generation technicians and relaying the knowledge he has been trained with to his teams.

Earl is still in the field to explain company standards to technicians and is the best demo guy the company has. Earl leads by example in every fashion from customer service to dress code. He keeps his company up to date on new techniques and equipment that are advancing the industry.


Meet Our Judges

Eric Sprague

Eric Sprague
Owner of Super Tech University 

Eric Sprague is a longtime cleaning and restoration veteran. Upon selling his restoration business, Sprague developed, and is director of education for,, a daily video training membership site teaching technicians the life skills required to excel in the field. In addition to his training business, Sprague is the co-host of the Blue Collar Nation Podcast.

Sara Largent

Sara Largent
Co-Owner Certified Pro Restoration

Sara Largent lives compassion. She is the co-owner of Certified Professional Restoration, a people-first leader, and a proud mother to her son Reece. Throughout the years Sara has donated her time to various charitable and community building organizations. This includes Caring Makes Cents, The Total Living Center, Coats for Kids, CACPC summer food program for children, progress 4 the cure, and Echoing Connections to name a few.

When Sara is away from the office, she enjoys spending time with her family, boating, working in her flower garden, feeding her koi fish, and traveling to various sandy beaches, tropical islands, and mountain ranges. Work accomplishments include the successful growth of her organization from a startup to present day operations. She has been responsible for spearheading the cultural development of the company by creating an atmosphere of growth, development, and compassion enjoyed by employees and customers alike. While Sara prefers to spend most of her time playing a support role that rarely receives the recognition it deserves, she was the proud recipient for the NSME award in 2020.

Certified Professional Restoration is a disaster cleanup company that specializes in the emergency response aspect of the restoration industry. The primary focus is water damage, fire and smoke clean up, and mold remediation. Secondary services include viral disinfecting, deodorizing services, commercial carpet cleaning, and trauma scene cleanup. While the organization does not perform construction activities, its people-first approach makes it the ideal choice for customers in an emotionally compromised state. They are a calming influence for their customer base excelling in educating their clients, providing sound guidance, and clearly explaining the process throughout the experience.