Q: What do you do here at Milburn? What does your typical day look like?
A: I’m a foreman for Milburn, and I’ve been here since day one. I oversee the work on our job sites. I make sure everyone is working safely, and that the job is done correctly, as far as the demolition is concerned. It’s on me to recognize the hazards of a job, and to make sure the guys are wearing their PPE and following safety guidelines.
Q: What were you up to in your career before joining Milburn?
A: I’ve been working in the demolition business for 20 years now. The company I worked for before Milburn was a demolition company that also did asbestos removal, so I have my asbestos license. Before that, I worked at an excavating company.
Building from the ground up is awesome too, and I like that part of the industry, but I really love demolition. People think we just rip stuff apart, but there’s more to it than that. There’s a lot of electrical, plumbing, and mechanical utilities to deal with, and all that stuff is often live, so we have to be cautious about it.
There’s also lots of selective demo, where we can only knock down certain things, and the rest needs to remain as is. So many of these buildings are old, so we have to be on our toes to not create any unwanted damages.
Q: Why do you like working in demolition? What makes you excited to come to work in the morning?
A: We take apart the stuff no one wants anymore to make way for building something new. It’s a good feeling to know that I was a part of that. Especially in a big city like Chicago, you have to knock something down to build something in its place, and I love doing that. I also learn something new every day. You would think someone with as much experience as I have would have seen it all, but I haven’t.
Q: What would you say makes Milburn a better place to work than other demolition companies?
A: I think it all comes back to James Milburn and Don Collier, and the way they keep us functioning like a family. We are tight. We look out for each other like brothers. Like any other family, there’s going to be heated discussions sometimes, but even that’s a positive, in my opinion. At Milburn, people feel comfortable enough to speak their minds without being afraid for their jobs.
Ultimately, as a foreman, it’s my decision to take the safest and best route for a job, but I always take the ideas of others into consideration. Everyone here keeps an open mind. This is the best company I’ve ever worked for. Watching this company grow has been a blessing.
Q: How do you like to spend your free time when you’re not at work?
A: I’ve been married since 1994, and I have three grown kids — two daughters and a son. My main hobby is maintaining my house, and taking care of the honey-do list. I also like to go fishing and camping when I get the chance, but I don’t have as much time for that as I did when I was younger.
Years ago, two of my brothers-in-law got pop-up trailers to go camping at Turkey Run State Park in Indiana. I figured I would get one too. So, we all went camping at Turkey Run a couple of times, but over the years, that trailer ended up being more of a clubhouse for the kids in my own yard.Meet More of the Team