One year down. Many to go!!!

By Joanne Ray | September 28, 2010

Well, I made it.

My first year as editor of New England Construction magazine was a success.

I couldn't have done it without the help of our New England Sales Representative Al Fournier, who showed me the ropes.

It has been a year since I was fortunate enough to walk in the shoes of Paul Fournier when he retired in January 2008 after 36 years as editor.

Throughout the year, I learned a lot of construction lessons — one being that the world of construction is hard work. There is a lot of planning, sweat and coordination that goes into something that would seem as simple as digging a hole. I think that the general public doesn't give construction workers enough credit for the long, hard days they put in to give us our infrastructure. There is an art and a science to everything they do and they have to be precise. That's not always easy.

And job safety is No. 1 priority. Some companies even dismiss laborers out of a day's work if they have a violation. The most fascinating safety rule that I came across was that of J. Masterson, who said that when he finds a laborer in violation, he takes a sum of money out of the worker's paycheck at the end of the week and gives it to the charity of the violator's choice. But he still makes them work for it — no sending them home for a day off, even if it is without pay. Many contractors have a half-hour safety meeting each morning as a constant reminder that there can be an OSHA fine at any time if any laborer is seen in violation.

I also learned that there are many fascinating, educated people in this industry — most of whom take great pride in what they do. I met a great deal of people who took the time to explain things to me to make sure I got things right. And luckily there were few mistakes made this year, if any at all.

Here are some people that I would like to thank:

Jim Toothaker from Independent Concrete, who spent time with me going over the concrete business.

Bill Peach from J. Masterson, who gave me many job story leads.

Rick Buck from United Rentals, who sat with me many mornings.

Dean Swartz from Milton Cat, who introduced me to John and Nancy Thomas — a one-year-old contracting company.

Jeff McCarthy from Northeast Shoring, who helped me with a great job story about the Mt. Washington Hotel in New Hampshire.

Devin Hartnell from Lindsay Lampasona, who introduced me to the tilt-up world.

Christopher Fournier from Bunce Positioning Systems, who gave me a lot of good info.

Jim Broderick from a remediation company called Geosearch, who was very prompt getting me the info I needed for a story idea.

Ken Pasco, the Value Added Products manager of Oldcastle in Avon, CT, who helped me with a great story about Oldcastle.

Dan Amorello of Dan Amorello paving and his Vice-President of Operations Todd Nedzweckas, who taught me the cold milling business.

Kevin and Brian O'Connell from Shawmut Equipment Company, who provided a great story about Fenway Park.

Paul Fulmore from Riverside Asphalt Services, who is doing well after a liver transplant.

The folks at MASCON and CONEX and all the others that helped me with association and trade shows.

Former NEC Editor Paul Fournier, who helped me a great deal through my first year.

And of course my two bosses Greg Sitek and Bob Keaton, along with our production department, who kept me on the right track!

So, here's to another great year. According to forecasts, the construction will be down but there are still many big projects going on out there. There will still be many interesting stories to come.

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