What motivates you to work hard?
My greatest motivations for work come from the personal pride when I feel I am making a difference in the world and contributing to the public welfare. My background as a Virginia Tech alumni has ingrained in me a very real sense of the school’s motto, “Ut Prosim,” which is Latin for, “That I May Serve.” Knowing I’ve been part of a team that provides my fellow human beings with a safer and better existence pushes me to work hard.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
I transferred to our Austin Branch in early 2014 and was very quickly involved with the City of Austin’s New Central Library as the only welding inspector and NDE technician on the project. A LEED Platinum project and the first large scale project in the city that required full IBC compliant inspections, it was recently included in ‘Time Magazine’ as one of the Greatest Places on Earth 2018. My experiences from Roanoke, VA and working with great mentors like Brian Wyatt, Michael Moon, and Ron Newman gave me an incredible head start on setting the standard for the project. It was eye opening to discover that what I considered the standard was a whole new level of perfection not typically required in Austin. I was personally thanked by the city’s Structural Engineer and the city’s Lead Inspector for the diligence on the project. It was also humbling because all I could think to respond was, “Well, that’s just how we roll, man.”
How did you decide to enter this industry?
I was working in the kitchen of a local eatery in Blacksburg, just like every other post-graduate trying to decide what I would name my own establishment when I opened it. Then the manager had a full blown jumping and screaming conniption fit because someone put too much cheese on a salad, and I started to doubt my career choice. At the time, I was working alongside a guy named Michael Moon who was moonlighting in the kitchen for extra cash. He started busting my chops because I was wrapping the serving plates in cellophane to keep them from getting greasy. I guess he liked my attention to detail. He asked me if I wanted a job. I asked him if it was in a restaurant, and when he said no, I told him “I am hired.” I walked into the soils lab in Roanoke and immediately thought, “Well, this is just like being a line cook but, with dirt.” The rest is history.