WASHINGTON– Joe Alonso, the Head Stone Mason at Washington National Cathedral, has been awarded the 2024 Craftsmanship Award for his role in leading 12 years of earthquake repair at the Cathedral by the Washington Building Congress (WBC).

Alonso’s work at the Cathedral was celebrated alongside other awardees at WBC’s 68th annual Craftsmanship Awards on April 5, 2024, in Washington, D.C. 

The Cathedral is honored in the Masonry category for Exterior Stone. WBC’s Craftsmanship Awards recognize exceptional craftsmanship within the local construction industry, and aim to encourage all tradesmen to take pride in their work. All 246 nominees across 10 categories are evaluated for aesthetics, difficulty of execution, technical excellence and quality craftsmanship. 

The Cathedral team also won the Star Award; joining Alonso in receiving the award for “Excellence in the Face of Adversity” were Cathedral Stone Carvers Andy Uhl and Sean Callahan.

Alonso started working at the Cathedral in 1985, and in 1990 he placed the final stone atop the building when construction was officially finished. Following a rare 5.8-magnitude earthquake in 2011 that resulted in $38 million in damage to the Cathedral, Alonso has overseen all repairs and restoration work.

“Working on this building has been the highlight of my career, and I am determined to keep working until the earthquake repairs are finished and this crown jewel of the D.C. skyline is fully restored,” Alonso said. “This work requires long hours in sometimes dreadful conditions, and my team is grateful to the Washington Building Congress for this recognition from our peers in the industry.”

Alonso’s team of stone masons and stone carvers, together with contracted partners, have been systematically working their way around the building to complete the earthquake repairs in phases. Once all funding is raised from private donations, Alonso expects the earthquake project to be fully completed by the end of this decade.

“Joe represents the heart and soul of this building, and he embodies the Cathedral’s commitment to excellence in all that we do,” said The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, dean of Washington National Cathedral. “We are grateful whenever the construction industry recognizes the amazing work that we see every day from Joe and his team of rock stars.”

WBC was founded in 1937 as a membership organization committed to strengthen and represent the collective interests of the local Washington, D.C. commercial construction, real estate, and design community. 


Alexa Lamanna Clark
[email protected]; 202-320-2766 

About Washington National Cathedral

Grounded in the reconciling love of Jesus Christ, Washington National Cathedral is a house of prayer for all people, conceived by our founders to serve as a great church for national purposes.