Q: What is your role here at Milburn? What kinds of responsibilities do you handle?
A: I’m a foreman. I’ve been with Milburn since April 2014. I came in right after the company started. When I joined, there were only about ten people working here.
My day-to-day operations include running the field at a specific job location. My duties include making sure payroll is done, keeping track of attendance, and getting daily progress reports to our project manager, estimators, dispatchers, and field operations manager. I also fill out paperwork, participate in our weekly safety toolbox meetings, and implement company policies.
Q: What were you up to in your career before joining Milburn?
A: I’ve been in the industry since 1997. I was studying architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I got a summer job in demolition, and I got into the union, making really good money. From being behind a draft table studying to being physically involved in the field, that was very intriguing for me.
I was 22 years old at the time, so I started very young. I loved doing this sort of physical, labor-intensive work. After I left school, my goal was to become a project manager. I started moving myself up through the ranks, and in 2009, I got my degree in construction management. By the time I came to Milburn, I already had 17 years as a laborer.
I had already invested so much time into being a laborer and filling up so many credits into my pension. Considering my healthcare and the fact that I already had a family, I had to decide whether to finish my career as a laborer or become a project manager. I ended up leaving my life as a laborer behind, and today I really enjoy being a foreman.
Q: Why are you glad you transitioned to being a foreman? What do you like about your job?
A: Every day is a new challenge, honestly. Nothing is ever the same with demolition. Even though you plan ahead, things can change in the field in a New York minute. I like how quickly we move on to new jobs in this industry. I’m on one job for a few days or a couple of weeks, and then it’s on to the next one.
As a foreman, I’m always looking forward to the next challenge. I also love seeing how technology has really taken over our industry. When I started, demolition was a very labor-intensive, backbreaking field. Now, we have all these robotics and other new tech that makes it easier on your body.
My favorite jobs are the ones where I can operate and be a foreman at the same time. That usually happens when I’m running smaller crews. When we have three- or four-man crews, that usually means I can get in the seat myself and do some operating, and I always love that.
Q: What is it about Milburn that makes this such a great company to work for?
A: It’s the attention to detail — not just with your work performance, but also with your life outside of work. They want to know how you and your family are doing. They want to make sure you’re happy, comfortable, and attentive.
They’re also always open to suggestions. They want you to come up with ideas, and that makes you feel valuable to the company. With other companies I’ve worked for, you just get thrown into a job and told, “this is what you’re going to do — just get it done.”
With Milburn, if we have a new job coming up, they’ll ask me to come out to the job site a week or two before we start. They ask for my input, and they see what I’m thinking. Even though, for the most part, they already have the job planned out, they still want my input. We all rise together and we all fall together, and Milburn recognizes that.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
A: I’m on my second marriage, and I have four kids — two boys and two girls. My wife is a nurse. Other than spending time with my family, my main interests are playing softball and soccer. I’m trying to keep my body young.