03. February 2012 · Comments Off on Meet The Crew: Barry Primak – Site Manager · Categories: Meet The Crew

As we drive down that Soho stretch of Wellington, our eyes automatically wander over to the Red Antiquities Building.  We’re compelled to visually take in the changes and marvel at the progress that’s been made.   It’s not just the brilliant red boards and detailed construction that catches our eye.  We also see the hard working construction crews high up on the rooftops or bent over hundred year old bricks enduring the cold, the rain and the heat of the sun.  Without these men, committed to the significance of the project, there would simply be no project at all.

It’s our pleasure to introduce The Red Antiquities Construction Team in a continuing series called:  Meet The Crew

Meet Barry Primak: Site Manager

Barry has been involved with the Red Antiquities Building since the early fall of 2011.  As site manager, he is responsible for every single detail of the project, managing 12 crew members, sub trades, organizing and scheduling all aspects of the project to fit within tight deadlines and budget constraints.  When asked why he chose this type of work, a broad smile spreads across his face. “It’s what I’m good at,” he says.   Originally from Burlington, a carpenter by trade, he learned early on that working with materials was in his blood.  “It’s my passion,” he says.  “It’s what I love to do.”

This passion for construction has taken him outside of Ontario and across the world.  Six years in South Africa, building high end custom homes not only gave him the experience and training needed to further his career, it also allowed him the chance to pass his knowledge on to others.  ‘In South Africa, after a while, I found that I was training people,” says Barry.  “Even when I was dealing with a definite language barrier, I realized I liked helping others reach their potential.”

The travel bug still in his system, Barry jumped continents again for his next adventure: Afghanistan.   Committed to following his passion for working with materials and construction, he assisted the Canadian troops, as a civilian, in a supportive role.  “Again, I found myself training others, overcoming language barriers,” he says.  He describes the experience as fantastic and life changing.  Now, a family man situated in London with a wife and two growing children, the Red Antiquities Building project seemed the perfect opportunity to further his passion for building while planting roots in a city that has come to mean so much to him.  “I’m fascinated by the structure of this building,” Barry says.  “As a carpenter, I’m especially interested in seeing the work that was done all those years ago.  I’m immersing myself in all the different aspects of the building so we can restore it to its former glory.”

This has not been an easy project and one which has held many challenges and intricacies.   Barry is quick to point out that the dedication of the crew is the force that drives all of them to keep going.  “The best part of this job is the people I’m working with,” he says.  “All these guys, they don’t have to be here but they show up, every single day.”  Due to the nature of the Job Creation Partnership, Barry has had the privilege of working with several young men who come to him with very little experience.  “I see these young guys come in, and I watch them learn and develop new skills,” he explains.  “I find out what they’re good at and then I watch them grow.  They put their heart into it and I can see it becoming a passion in them like it is in me.”

Barry describes his foreman and the crew members with a genuine sense of camaraderie and respect.  “They all realize the historic significance of the building,” he says.  ‘They want to be there to see it through to completion.”  As the sound of hammers, drills and saws continue in the background, Barry straightens his hard hat, stands and looks toward the door as if signalling that he’s got a full day ahead of him and needs to get moving.  “When I think about this job,” he says.  “The Red Antiquities Building is bigger than a job.  This is bigger than all of us.”  Amidst the noise of the restoration and renovation going on around him, he continues. “The RAB was here before us and it’ll be here after us.  How lucky am I to be part of its history,” he says. How lucky indeed.

Kara James

Stay tuned for more in the Meet The Crew series and be sure to like us on facebook and follow us on twitter for updates.

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