Beyond the Build

Tips from the Field

After the Gold Shovel

I was at a job site not too long ago and spotted this shovel. When it was brand new, it had been painted gold and used for a groundbreaking ceremony. Several months later, the paint had chipped and worn away from frequent use.

I have been to a few groundbreakings in the last 40 years. The bankers, developers and politicians have a big role to play in getting a project started, and those folks deserve credit for their hard work. But once the media leaves and the suits go back to the office, I am most impressed with the workers who make it happen without any fanfare. You won’t find media, speeches or golden shovels, just an honest day’s work and the gratification of a job well done.

I have seen days where I did not think it could get any hotter, and it did. There have been days when I thought it was too cold to rain, and it did that too. Regardless of the conditions, men and women are out there every day, keeping the building industry moving forward. I consider those folks to be the backbone of our success, and appreciate them every day.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

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