Construction and Life Lessons

As many of you know I have been with the company for almost 46 years now and I wanted to take this opportunity to remind everyone just how far we have come as a company in the last 46 years. I sometimes have to remind myself of some of the advances the industry has made in that time, and here are some interesting facts when I first came into the industry as an apprentice carpenter in 1975.

  • When I first started we still used a plumb bob or transit to check a building for vertical alignment and now we use a robot (total station). BTW the plumb bob dates back to ancient Egypt 4000 years ago.
  • The Estimating department took off everything by hand, using scale rulers and used “green sheets” of paper to document their numbers. Now we have a software program and electronic digitizers to assist with that task.
  • There were no cell phones. Just think about that for a minute, because now we could not get by without them. I recall the first “Mobile phone” in the company which was the size of shoe box and weighed about 15 lbs.
  • There were no fax machines used and all communication was done by phone and the US mail. While this may seem archaic to many of you I think we have lost the art of communication at times and we need to pick up the phone and talk to the person instead of just sending countless emails.
  • All-wheel drive forklifts were considered an unnecessary luxury and now it seems we can’t get by without the all-wheel drive lift from mobilization through punch list. We owned some rear-wheel steering forklifts with no power steering and that was what was used on our projects for many years.
  • We did not have any computers or software in the company or at the project level until the mid-1990s. Wow, how did we ever build anything? (insert sarcasm here.)
  • Building Information Modeling wasn’t even someone’s dream at that time. Now we model just about everything, and the construction industry is better off because of it.
  • There was no ESPN or 24-hour news networks. Now we are bombarded 24/7 with more information then we need sometimes. On the bright side I can watch the Golf Channel 24/7.

With all of the fantastic technology we have today in construction our industry still boils down to people. While technology has helped the tradespeople who build the magnificent architectural and structural marvels that are being built in modern times, it still takes skilled workers and highly trained construction professionals to build what was developed by the design team. That is what makes Absher a great company because we have some of the best people in the industry and I have learned so much over the years from so many of those talented people and, hopefully, I have passed along a little knowledge as well!

One final note, I have decided that the end of 2021 will be my last year with Absher as I plan to retire and move into that next chapter in life. I have to say I will miss the day-to-day interaction with so many great people, many whom are friends, but I’m also looking forward to new challenges. If Jeff and James need some help beyond that, I will be working part time as needed to help out where I can. I’m also extremely confident that with the current leadership group in place and the up-and-coming leaders, the company is poised to do great things in the future.

Mike Steinthal, Operations Director

P.S. Never forget “Measure twice cut Once”