Sunday, July 12, 2009

Part - 19.1.1. - Employment




After leaving Howard, I worked in the International Paper Company lab for three-and-a-half years.

After leaving the paper mill and Carey College, I did a brief stint as a dump and water truck driver and steam shovel greaser with the company that paved the road from the school to the county line. Then I worked as a Junior Structural Engineer for Paul Hardeman/Fischback & Moore in Conway, AR managing an Iron Worker fabrication shop and warehouse on 18 Titan II Missile Silos.

When that project was completed, I worked as a Debit Agent with the National Life and Accident Insurance Co. in Mobile for 7 months before we were almost totally broke!

After being a “policy man” with NLAIC, I worked on several projects at the NASA Mississippi Testing Center near Picayune, MS. I started out as a Rodman laying out piling locations for a bascule bridge foundation; moved to Assistant Project Engineer on an office building; then to Field Engineer on a Vehicle (Missile Sections) Storage Building and finally Project Engineer on a Vehicle Assembly Building.

From MTC, I went back to Mobile and worked for two years as Assistant Manager of the Mobile Office of Otis Elevator. Not wanting to transfer to Atlanta, I left Otis and began an eleven year stint with Martin Builders, Inc.

I “wore several hats” with MBI. I started out as an Estimator and Field Engineer. That spread out to be Equipment Superintendent, Purchasing Agent, Safety Manager, and whatever other jobs no one else wanted to do. I designed and oversaw the work on a big addition to our office building, filled in for Job Superintendents that had to be off sick for periods of time, doing layouts of new projects to locate building sites, doing emergency check writing to terminated employees and I could fill in and do the work of any employee in the office on a “necessary” basis. This was one of my SHK Majors!

After MBI owners decided to fold the company, I went to work as Equipment Superintendent (Fleet Manager) for The Rust Engineering Company in Oak Ridge, TN. I worked there for 11 years, then I was transferred to Waterville, ME, and to Sheffield, AL for a couple of years.

At Rust, I had to design a Fleet Maintenance and Replacement program for up to 277 Government (Department of Energy) vehicles and over 100 items of Construction Equipment. Also, I was responsible for maintaining a manpower of up to 75 Operating Engineers and 75 Teamsters to drive, operate and maintain all the vehicles and equipment. This also involved compiling training programs to meet Department of Transportation in the safe operation of trucks transporting hazardous materials and a training program to certify crane operators in the safe operation of this type equipment.

I was on several panels in DOE wide Property Management with meetings all over the US. The maintenance and replacement programs that I designed were used by other Government agencies across the country.

During the time in Oak Ridge was the only time that the lack of a college diploma gave me any type hold back. I was told that I was preferred to take the job as Assistant Project Manager over the 12 to 1400 workers but since I didn’t have that diploma, I was ineligible for the job. I knew that was the case and did not apply for the job.

When it became evident that Rust would not get an extension of their contract after 27 years, they transferred eight people to other projects. I was one of the eight. I went to the Home Office in Birmingham for three months, then to Waterville, ME for two years.

In Maine, I was Materials Manager on a large paper machine and boiler project for Scott Paper Co. I had a dual computer system on that project. I designed a Lotus program on PC to keep up with EACH item of materials and equipment that went into that project. This involved accounting for every item from design, to purchasing, to expediting, to receiving to issue for installation.

The other computer system was to parallel the Lotus program in the company’s UNIX program in Birmingham. This program did the same thing as the Lotus one, but was set up so that when a designer put a piece of material or equipment on paper, it was assigned a number that followed the piece from “Cradle to Grave.”

From Maine, I was transferred to a project at Reynolds Aluminum Co. in Sheffield, AL to run the night shift and be in charge of Safety on installation of new aluminum casting pits.

When the Reynolds job was finished, I was scheduled to go to Ohio as Materials Manager on a big project, but on the day I was to leave there, I was advised that the project had been cut back and my job there was part of the cuts. So, I was out of work for nine months and back in Oak Ridge.