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Pride of Accomplishment

Chris Ohlert, left, and Craig Murdock demonstrate their pride of accomplishment on the London Computer Systems headquarters project in Cincinnati.

Too often we look at fabulous buildings, and we focus on the design or the engineering or the materials or the method of construction. We forget about the people who made that building happen. And we forget the pride the people who work on those buildings invest in them.

I was reminded of this last month when I received a great email from Chris Ohlert who was the foreman responsible for the metal wall panel installation work on the London Computer Systems Inc. headquarters in Cincinnati, which we covered in Metal Architecture in the November 2017 issue. (You can see our write-up here.) He was disappointed that we didn’t include the people on the crew who made the project possible.

Chris works for I.M. Labor Inc., Romeo, Mich., the subcontractor to the panel installer, Shaffner Heaney Associates Inc., South Bend, Ind.

“I feel you didn’t represent the people who actually did the work on the exterior of the building,” he wrote. “I was the jobsite foreman and put my heart and soul into that job. I had a handpicked crew of guys that made me proud. My hands were on 98 percent of the material.”

Chris is right. Take a look at the picture here. Those guys are pretty proud of their work. If you’ve ever worked on a crew doing construction—especially a good one that has a lot of good people on it—you know the joy and satisfaction you get from doing a job well.

The project superintendent was Paul Wagner, who worked for the general contractor, Miller Valentine Group, Cincinnati, and Chris says, “In my 23 years in the sheet metal business, Paul was the best I ever worked with.” Joining Chris in the picture is Craig Murdock (on the right in the photo), also with I.M. Labor. “Craig and I were the first ones there for the exterior installation and the last two to leave on the last day.”

We need to start recognizing the efforts of people like Chris, Paul and Craig more. In our magazines, Metal Architecture and Metal Construction News, we’re going to work harder to get the names of the people—men and women—who do the work on the job that makes the buildings we feature so fabulous. We owe it to them.

And we owe it to ourselves, because this country doesn’t value the talents and exertions of our skilled workforce. Want to know one reason why kids today aren’t going into construction and we’re facing a labor shortage? Not a lot of love or recognition for what Chris and his buddies do. At our magazines, we’re going to start doing our small part.


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