Beyond the Build


Lost a Friend This Week

This has been a tough week among tough weeks for S/P and me personally. We lost a long-time project superintendent and a heck of a good guy. This virus plays no favorites.

Larry and I have been working together since we were in our 20s. He was the reassuring type I could trust with anything. Moreover, he was a friend with four decades of history between us. We are all beyond sad.

Larry’s loss got me thinking about the type of person that makes a good leader in any organization, someone who can be depended upon in all circumstances. I believe it’s worth recording here so that others may strive to hone these skills, no matter their professional role. One of the guys in the company wrote this memory of Larry, which I have paraphrased below. It sums up Larry to a “T.”

When Larry was on one of our larger and tougher jobs, amongst the mud, cold and the challenges, I noticed he would walk the buildings quicker than anyone else with his chin up, he would use his “good morning” on every single tradesman. Depending on the tone in which they responded, or if they did at all, he would measure how much support they needed at that moment. Not only was it true experience in action, it was also a display of empathy and connectedness that probably used to be more prevalent on job sites because of men like Larry. He showed real leadership and grit and also had a little fun. He made whatever tough place he was in a little better.

Beyond being a building superintendent and coworker, many of us here classified Larry as a true friend. He was also a husband, a father, a grandfather and so much more.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.