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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Young engineer stopped by yesterday, left us three years ago for more money, left there for more money again, just got layed off. Now has no pay check with wife, kid, house and car payments. Got me to thinking, it was fourty years ago this week that I started at Law Engineering in Globe Iron's fab shop checking steel for #6 recovery boiler. I was at Law for 21 years, been here 19 never missed a pay check in all that time. Sure they weren't as big as they could have been if I had job hopped, but they were allways there. Does anybody still do that, or are we relics from the past?
 

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Bosko; I feel for the young man. I never did get to college. Joining the Marine Corps right after high school and 10 months in
Vietnam gave me all the schooling I needed. They taught me to work hard, learn everything I could no matter what the job and set you a goal you were working towards. Once married and out of the Marines, I jumped around job to job till I was 30, learning everything I could in the field of construction. Since then I worked 40 some years in positions usually reserved for individuals who held Civil Engineering Degrees and I do think those days are gone where hard work, learning all one can on the job and being rewarded for your effort. Been like that for about the last 8 years if you know what I mean. Now you are really getting in my back yard again. In 1975 I was hired by Kent James, Project Engineer, Project "O" Union Camp, Franklin, Virginia. SOUND FAIRMILAR. I was hired as the Project Engineering Clerk and four years later was performing the duties of a full Field Engineer with Tidewater Construction Company. Early in the job I was directed to keep track of all structural steel componets for #6 recovery boiler as they were delivered onto the project site from Globe Iron in Norfolk. How I did this is; I made me a complete set of #6 recovery boiler structural steel drawings and daily as the trucks dropped their loads down at Receiving, I'd be sent their packing iist. I'd take the packing list and find each structural member on the structural drawings and by using color code which defined the date received color the piece in. Now, besides you and me, I don't think there are many reading this that know how many pieces of structural steel are in #6. Will say this; when our steel erection crews topped off #6 it was the tallest steel structure in Virginia at that time. Bosko it surely is hard to believe that was 40 some years ago.

Acey

One more thing Bosko. Were you involved in any of the field testing of concrete when they poured the FOUNDATION for #6? Correct me if I'm wrong but I think there were three concrete batch plants making the concrete. The pour went on 24 hours a day for 3 or 4 days.

Acey
 

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You stirred up some old memories Bosko. The new #6 recovery boiler was to be built right where the main Union Camp Corp. office building sat, Tidewater Construction had to build a new, two story office building before all else in the Project could begin to get under way. I was hired by Kent two weeks before it was scheduled for the Union Camp employees to move from the old office into parts of the new building. TCC Construction Engineering Team and the Union Camp Corp. Project Management Team had just moved out of office trailers where they were when I was interview and when I began work we where located on the second floor of the new office building. Within a week after the move TCC demo the old office building which interior walls where old, 6" tongue and groove pine. There was almost a riot that first night by Union Camp Mill works trying to take the T/G pine home. Union Camp had to call in armed guards to prevent them from taking the boards and the guards kept watch until the building was hauled to the mill dump. The make up of the TCC Engineering group was the Project Manager; Project Engineer; four each Area Construction Engineers; Engineering Clerk; a Purchasing Agent, a Construction Accountant with an assistance. We had a receiving Department which every nut and bolt in the Project went thru. Then there were the 7 Area Superintendants. Now that there was a mess. It was all run very regimental and of course we worked the Union Halls.

Acey
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
You know I think you were on my distribtion list for reports at Union Camp. I was never on site for testing, that was the Raleigh office. After Union Camp I went to Williamsburg to test concrete at the brewery. They poured 97,000 yards in 106 working days. Everey Weds. was a 1000 yard mat pour for fermenter tanks, a set of cylinders every 50 yards, 40 trucks hauling from three different plants, done in six hours. We had lab on site testing cylinders, made for 14 hour days, think I was making $4.00 an hour at the time!
 

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Bosko; did you ever do any testing for O. K. James Construction Co. which was located near Williamsburg. O. K. James was my good friend Kent James. After Project "O" only one person from the Field Engineering Team stayed on with TCC. Everyone else went separate ways. Kent went with the Construction Company which built the Budwiser plant in Williamsburg then he started up O. K. James Construction. He is retired now and lives down in NC somewhere. He sold the company to his employees.

Acey

I don't directly remember;
"You know I think you were on my distribtion list for reports at Union Camp." but there is a very good chance I was. There where twenty some Areas of work in the Project and I do remember each area had a folder for "Lab Test Results"; and I do remember handling Testing for all concrete work.

Acey
 

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Hey guys, I have no idea what your talking about on your job, but I hear you and agree it will never be the same. No more jobs like it use to be. For me, USAF, 30 years in Ship yard, and lucky to commercial fish for about 25 years. Very interesting post. Thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was at the Brewery in 77 or 78 for concrete testing. We did some work on OK James jobs, I don't think I did. From 79 to 86 I spent most of my time on drill rigs doing test borings and enviromental ground water sampling wells.
 

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I think it was the end of 78 when I left TCC under a whole lot of pressure not to go. I was employed by Union Camp Corp., Franklin, Va. mill and my job was the Rail Yard Clerk. I was in charge of all inbound and outbound rail cars. The rail road company which served the mill kept an engine and switching crew on site 24/7 and it was my responsibility to prepare a switching schedule twice a day as for them to move chemical cars in and out of unloading stations; empty box cars to be placed for loading and full box cars pulled out from loading stations and placed into train make up sidings. Besides all this had to account for all the inbound and outbound log cars. Had a whole lot going on but only after one year when I was offered a position with a local contractor to fill a position in his construction company as Estimator/Project Manager. I took the offer. Stayed with him till 92 and our work was mostly in the paper mill. After about 10 years there, in 92 the economy went down hill so I took a position with an engineering firm out of Chrystal City, in D.C. and went over to Italy for three months. Was part of an 8 man inspection team, evaluating structure value on two Naval Bases over there. Came back from there and was employed as the Superintendant for a project here in Suffolk which was the construction on a Community College. From there was with W. P. Taylor Co.; Estimator/Project Manager, 12 years then moved to the Blair Brothers Co., Inc.; from where I retired after 13 years as Senior Estimator. PEW

Acey
 

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OK; we have a good following to this thread so let me tell you all a story and this really happen. I think it was in the summer of 1977 our steel erection Superintendant; Dave Redmond, took his two week vacation. He had told me the week before his vacation started that he and his wife were taking their RV and going up to New England. Well as it turned out we were going to have a big shut down in three weeks and early in Dave's second week of vacation I am approached by the Project Manager and the Purchasing Agent. They tell me the company who was under contract to make all the instrumentation for the shut down had fallen behind in their schedule and that the last of the items would not be ready until tomorrow. They asked me if I would take a plane up to Boston, Mass tomorrow morning, rent a station wagon, drive out to the plant and they would load the vehicle with all the required instrumentation we needed for the shut down. I'd then drive back to Franklin, Va. with my cargo. I had already did this twice before for other items so I said I would make the trip. Next day got into Boston, got the station wagon and made my way out to the plant. Everything was not ready so I had to get me a motel room and be back at the plant at 7am the next day. Got there at 7am the next morning, they loaded the vehicle and believe me it was full and was on the road by 9am heading south down Interstate 95. Now if my memory is still working I think just before or just after the Conn/NY State Line I came to a very, very large truck stop. Saw I needed gas so I pulled into a gas pump island where an RV was getting gas on the other side of the island. Jumped out of the station wagon and before I got back to the gas tank cap; WHO THE HECK DO I COME FACE TO FACE WITH. Good old Dave Redmond. We both were speechless for a few seconds then Dave asked me; "Andy, what the hell are you doing up here? Are you following me?" I told Dave what I was doing and showed him the loaded down station wagon. What do you all think the odds are that being from Franklin, Va. that the both of us would meet up on the Conn/NY line.

Acey
 

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Bosko, hope I don't sound like I'm beating my chest; too hard, but one thing I became very good at doing while working as an Estimator/Project Manager from 1979 till 2002, was Design/Build Projects. I'd have Owners, Owner Representatives, you name it; come to me and ask how much would a certain size building cost. I developed the skills to be able to sit down and put together on paper, starting from the ground up, a complete budget cost to their projects. Most times they already had the property. Had certain independent engineers I'd use for Archtectual, Structural, Concrete with re-bar drawings if required and also a Civil Engineer for site work drawings. Back then the Plumber and Electrical could get their permits without drawings and if the building were to have a sprinkler system the Fire Suppression Contractor would supply his own drawings. If a pre-engineered was involved the Building Manufacture provided his own structural drawings with loads meeting code. I developed a system whereby I'd put together a complete engineering cost by calling each engineer and get his price to make the drawings required. I'd develop my own concrete package price; yards of concrete, tons of re-bar, wire mesh, forms, and what ever else would be required. Then a complete labor package to excavate, form, install re-bar and embedded items; then labor and equipment to pour and finish. From 1979 to 1992 the contractor had his own erection crew and he had his own building manufacture we brought the steel buildings from. While with W. P. Taylor Co. Inc. I used a sub-contractor for my steel buildings. Sorry the pictures are a little fuzzy but I had to go down the man cave and take pictures of the pictures on the wall. Not too good. In 2005 my oldest daughter when around the area and took some pictures of a few of the buildings I have designed and built at that time and gave me them as a Christmas present to hang on the wall in my office at Blair Brothers. Blow the pictures up to 200 and you can see them a little better. The last building I designed is a auto tire/muffler business here in Franklin and it won a National award from the building manufacture, for my metal building sub contractor.

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Acey
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Andy, I know you'll like this one. Spent two years on a project in 86 and 87. AAFES distribution warehouse in Newport News. 1.2 million sq. ft. building with 70 acres of paving, some days I'd have 8 to 10 techs on site testing. The Architect had a full time inspector on site from Chicago, he was in his mid 60's dead ringer for Bob Newhart with the same sense of humor. He would use 10 disposable cameras and two note books a week noting non compliance items, an hour every week at the progress meetings telling the contractor what had to be corrected to receive payment. About a year into the project I noticed that his degree in construction management was dated 1985, remember this guy is in his 60's. I asked him what he did before college, he laughs and tell me he started as a union carpenter in Chicago and worked his way up to superintendent on multimillion dollar projects in Chicago. He then tells me he went back to school just so he could be on the other side just once. Project ended up in arbitration, contractor ended up leaving millions on the table!
 

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Good story with a not so good ending. I had to represent the Blair Brothers Co. in two arbitrations with an arbitrator in charge. Our Lawyer and I; I guess one would say, we won both our cases but never got all we were owed. When I was with W. P. Taylor Co. I won a project to enlarge and up grade a sewage spray field with a lined 6 ac. sewage pond and all new pumps installed into an existing pump house. This was for a small town in N.C.. Knew the Design Engineering Firm was a sleeze ball when the pumps ordered in per drawings did not fit into the pump house. The spray field was about 40 ac. and the finial item in the project was to plant trees in the spray field. After we had the trees planted our Supervisor took a motor grader and slicked up the areas in between the rows of trees (rows where about 20' wide) then took a tractor with a weighted big piece of chain link fence and dragged these same areas. There was nothing on the drawings nor in the specs with regards as to what condition the spray field was to be left in, as to grade and contours. Well came time for the finial inspection and I was tied up with another project so Perk Taylor, the company owner went down to meet with the design engineer. When Perk got down to the project the engineer was sitting there in his car in the spray field. Perk pulled up and the engineer asked him to get into his car, which Perk did. Perk said the engineer then took off up the row between the trees running 50 mph. When he got to the end of the row he turned around and ran 50 mph back to Perks truck. When he stopped he turned to Perk and said the finial grade to the spray field was too rough for a tractor pulling a mower and he was rejecting acceptance of the Project. Perk got out of the car and said; "I don't think so." Perk got back to the office and called his Lawyer friend who gave him the name and phone number of a Lawyer out of N.C.. In a few days the Lawyer had a meeting set up with the Town Mayor, Town Water/Sewer Supervisor, the Design Engineer, myself and him. At the meeting the Town folks did not understand what was wrong. The Design Engineer, who made our monthly payments to us; had submitted for and had received payment in full for the Project. Oh, did I tell you the slime ball called the Mayor that morning saying he couldn't make the meeting. I think how it all ended is the Mayor called the engineer and gave him so many days to make a full and finial payment to Perk which he did.

Acey
 

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Not much going on so I'll tell another story. The building in the second picture down was built as a small Sears Building in Franklin, Virginia. Got a phone call from the owner of the property; who also owns' the Ford Dealership in town, asking me to come over to his office. When I arrived there Blake tells me that the Sears people are talking to him about wanting him to build them a building on his property which they would lease from him on a 10 year contract. The .building had to look exactly and he makes his point, EXACTLY like the Sears building down in Smithfield, North Carolina. He said I'd have to go down to Smithfield and measure everything up; then come back and give him a turn-key price to build it and it must be exactly the same building to suite the Sears people. As I'm leaving he tells me he is also getting a price from the same contractor who I worked for in the 80's and early 90's. It took me about two weeks to get a price together and submit a contract proposal. A few days later Blake gives me a phone call and tells me I'm not the lowest in price. After a few minutes conversation he agrees to make me a copy of the proposal the other contractor had submitted; after he removed any/all money amounts. This was so I could compare the two buildings and that they were the same building as that one in Smithfield, N.C.. Well the next morning after reviewing the two proposals I go down to the owner's office. I had him get out the two proposals he had and had him read off from both of them the size of the façade on the building. I had an 8' façade and the other contractor had a 3'. Once he read them I pulled out a picture I had taken of the façade on the building when I was down there taking measurement. It was 8' not 3'. I told him the difference in price between the 8' façade and 3'. If he wanted a 3' façade he could deduct from my bid that amount of money. If he wanted an 8' as the building in N. C. did have; he needed to add that amount to the other contractors price. He looked down at the two proposals; looked back up at me, picked up a pen and signed my proposal. After having a copy of the signed proposal/contract made we shook hands and he said something like; "Andy, you just saved ( the other contractor) from having a big problem with me. Thank you." This occurred back in about 1995 and guessing it was about 20,000 dollars difference between the two.

Acey
 

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Went and picked up our taxes yesterday morning. My good friend Jimmy C. retired from Union Camp when they sold out to International Paper. Have known him since 1975 when he was the Construction Accountant with the Union Camp Project Management Team. He worked his way up the ladder and in the early 90's was promoted to a high level accounting position with Union Camp in Corp. Head Quarters in Wayne, New Jersey. UC paid for a nice apartment up there for him and his wife. Then every Monday morning a corp. plane would pick he and his wife up at the Franklin, Va. airport; then fly them back home every Friday morning. I told Jimmy about this thread and how it had me recalling those good old days. Jimmy asked me if I remembered the day the steel worker fell off #6 Recovery Boiler. I did not remember that. Jimmy said he had just left the #6 RB and was walking back to his office when he fell. Said he was not tied off; that he fell 265 feet hitting two steel beams on his way down, and was dead before he hit the ground. Jimmy has been doing our taxes for many years now; he has his own tax business which he runs out of his office in his house, just a couple miles down the road from us.

Acey
 
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