Jennifer Cathey honored by Preservation North Carolina

Jennifer Cathey of Asheville has been named the 2021 winner of the Robert E. Stipe Professional Award presented annually by Preservation North Carolina.  The award was presented to Jennifer at Preservation North Carolina’s virtual Annual Conference on Friday, October 22nd.  The recording of the awards ceremony can be viewed at

The Robert E. Stipe Professional Award is the highest honor presented to working professionals who demonstrate exceptional leadership and outstanding commitment to preservation as part of their job responsibilities.  The award was established in 1983 to honor the contributions of Robert E. Stipe of Chapel Hill, an educator in the field of historic preservation and a mentor to a generation of preservation professionals.

Jennifer Cathey, architectural historian and Restoration Specialist of the western State Historic Preservation Office, is remarkably committed to preserving North Carolina’s history and heritage.  Numerous colleagues have expressed the utmost respect and admiration for Jennifer’s work ethic and passion for preservation.

Jennifer graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree in History and Art History from Virginia Tech and studied Historic Preservation, Museum Studies and Urban Affairs at University of Delaware’s Master’s program.  A true public servant, she is active in the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County, and chairs several committees focused on historic preservation.  She has developed a network of preservation professionals that have followed her natural lead in restoration efforts.  In the preservation world, Jennifer is considered a savvy team player that utilizes resources to get the job done.  It’s been said that she epitomizes strategic historic preservation for western North Carolina.

Jennifer has been involved in the preservation of countless historic buildings by providing research, technical advice, connecting community leaders or building owners with preservation organizations and more.  Particular projects she has provided assistance with include the Oteen VA Hospital Administration Building in Asheville; the Elizur Patton House in Pisgah Forest; Jones Gap Baptist Church in Hendersonville; historic City Hall in Saluda; and the Anderson Rosenwald School in the Long Ridge community of Mars Hill.

Often the only woman in many construction situations, she works with integrity and holds her own.  Whether it’s volunteer work or on the job, she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty.  On top of that, Jennifer is a mentor and educator to other colleagues that work for the State Historic Preservation Office.  Reid Thomas, of the eastern SHPO office, has stated that Jennifer puts her heart and soul into her work and exudes purpose and passion for preservation projects.

Excellent at collaborating and communicating with the public, Jennifer’s ability to translate historic preservation guidelines to the layman is an incredibly important skill.  She applies kindness and thoroughness, with attention to detail when describing the complexities of historic tax credits to homeowners.  Jennifer’s ability to convey the intricacies and jargon of preservation has been of immeasurable benefit to the public.

Incredibly giving of her time and energy for moving preservation projects forward, an immense respect surrounds Jennifer in the preservation community for the level of positivity and professionalism that she brings to the table.  Her colleagues have stated that she constantly gives back to the region by volunteering her guidance outside of the workplace.

Jennifer’s thoroughness and dedication to serving the public through preservation has established her as the deserving recipient of Preservation North Carolina’s 2021 Robert E. Stipe Professional award.

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