2024 Special Achievement Awards honour three winners

Ottawa’s housing industry toasted three exceptional contributions when the 2024 Special Achievement Awards were presented during the annual general meeting of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA).

David Renfroe, Amsted Design-Build and Giuseppe Castrucci — all veterans of the local housing sector and stalwarts of GOHBA — were the three trophy winners.

Colonel Boss Award

Renfroe, one of four nominees, took home the Colonel Boss Award. Named for the association’s first executive director, the award honours outstanding dedication and service to GOHBA by a member.


“I’m overwhelmed with the recognition,” said Renfroe in an interview. “We have amazing membership here at GOHBA, and I’m proud to be part of it.”

Renfroe is a past president of GOHBA and has also played a leadership role with the Ontario Home Builders’ Association. He has worked in the local residential housing sector since 2005, with a particular focus on land development, municipal approval and related processes, and project management.

Along with praising his fellow award nominees, he said, “I think the Greater Ottawa homebuilders have done an exceptional job to help with the housing crisis and to supply housing to our residents.”


Fred Neilsen Award

Amsted Design-Build won the Fred Neilsen Award for a company that has made outstanding and lasting contributions to the association and to the housing industry. Named after the second executive director of the association, there were five nominees for the trophy at the 2024 Special Achievement Awards.

Amsted’s president and owner, Steve Barkhouse, accepted the award for his renovation and custom home business. Amsted has won multiple awards at the national, provincial and local levels since it opened in 1989 and has been a GOHBA Renovator of the Year a record-setting 10 times.

“Fred Neilsen talked me into joining the association! Isn’t that super-cool?” said Barkhouse, a past president of GOHBA. “He said, ‘Don’t just join, get involved.’ I’m grateful for that.”


Barkhouse was also quick to share the glory for the latest award, saying, “It’s really the company that’s won the award — everybody is part of this.”

Honorary Membership

Giuseppe “Pep” Castrucci, retired vice-president of sales and marketing at award-winning Laurysen Kitchens, was recognized with an Honorary Membership. It is given for exceptional and meritorious service to the residential construction industry and is “a rarity,” said GOHBA executive director Jason Burggraaf in announcing the winner, one that has been given only 11 times.

Castrucci is a past president of GOHBA and served on the board for 14 years. He was one of two nominees for Honorary Membership.


“It’s a recognition for all the work he’s done with the association over his career,” said Michael Laurysen, the company’s vice-president of operations. “He’s a person who never says ‘No’; he pours his heart and soul in. It’s a nice recognition for his lifetime of service.”

Along with the awards and association business, the annual general meeting featured guest speakers and an unexpected visit from Ottawa mayor Mark Sutcliffe, who took a couple of minutes at the podium to praise the work of association members in addressing the city’s housing needs.

Guest speakers included Sue Wastell and Dave Depencier, presidents respectively of the Canadian and Ontario home builders’ associations. They spoke about the housing crisis, challenges to meeting ambitious housing goals, and their associations’ advocacy at the national and provincial levels of government.


About the Author

Patrick Langston All Things Home Ottawa homes

Patrick Langston

Patrick Langston is the co-founder of All Things Home Inc. and a veteran journalist. He has written widely about the Ottawa housing industry since 2008.



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