Ironworker Facility Sets the Stage… for a Visit from the President

How does someone prepare when expecting guests? Obvious suggestions would be cleaning up, making sure everyone is ready to greet the visitors, coordinating arrival times and ensuring adequate parking situations. But what if someone’s expecting a visit from two of the most important figures in America?

This was a scenario the Iron Workers Local 5 Union employees in Largo, Md., had to handle. On February 4, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris visited the facility where Biden signed an executive order requiring the use of project labor agreements on federal construction projects above $35 million.

Hosting a visit from the sitting president and vice president takes extensive planning. Aaron Bast, a business manager at Local 5, says plenty of coordination and planning occurred among the facility, Secret Service and White House staff.

“We had to determine hold rooms for the president and vice president, presidential staff and Secret Service,” Bast says. “We had to set up the area where he gave his speech and signed the executive order, and there was a lot of stuff we had to move to make room for everything,” he says.

According to Bast, the entire Local 5 staff of 14 and an additional seven apprentices attended, as well as approximately 30 guests from the White House and another 25 members of the press.

Bast says there was a complete sweep of the facility and all doors locked in anticipation of the president’s arrival.

“Certain parts of the facility were closed to all people…we closed for business that day,” he says.

Vice president Kamala Harris and labor secretary Marty Walsh also attended. Walsh was a member of Laborers Local 223 in Boston and the head of the Building and Construction Trades Council from 2011 to 2013.

Looking back on the event, Bast says there isn’t anything he would change.

“The whole experience was so amazing, and I will never forget it,” he says.

The executive order is intended to help alleviate the management and coordination challenges that can hinder progress on major construction projects. The order also directs Departments of Defense and Labor, as well as the Office of Management Budget to lead a training strategy for the nearly 40,000-person strong contracting workforce on the implementation of this order’s policy, a White House statement reads.

Local 5’s 52,000 square foot facility consists of classrooms, welding and training stations, mock-ups and even a five-ton overhead crane. (Read the related article on page 36 in the September 2021 issue of USGlass magazine.)

Forman Ford Earns NACC

Forman Ford, a Midwest glazing contractor headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is the first in the state to earn North American Contractor Certification (NACC).

Forman Ford executive vice president Kurk Rogers and director of fabrication and engineering Joe Kalisz partnered with NACC administrators for over six months to undergo a series of rigorous assessments and implement standard written documents including a quality management system.

Forman Ford leadership say the NACC process encouraged them to implement new quality control methods in both the manufacturing facility and the field. To maintain certification, the company will be reevaluated annually to confirm its business and glazing practices remain at the high standards NACC requires.

Glazing contractors can earn the NACC credential in one or more of six operational categories based on the company’s focus of work. Forman Ford earned NACC in all six categories: interior and entry systems, building envelope low-rise, building envelope high-rise, active glass, guardrails and service work.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.