Rick Craven has a unique retirement plan. He doesn’t plan to retire.
Craven, 56, is as enthusiastic as ever about his job as a Project Superintendent at Haskell. He credits the wide variety of assignments he has had over the years for his continued passion.
“I wouldn’t change my job. I love what I do,” Craven said. “I will be here until they run me off. I can’t say enough about the leadership in this company.”
Currently, he is completing a canning facility in a confidential location. The $100 million project is a total retrofitting of a former warehouse that entails building two complete canning lines, installing 22,000 linear feet of steel piping and 10,000 feet of chill water piping and fabricating seventeen 12,000-gallon storage tanks – for starters.
The current popularity of the client’s product, a hard seltzer, demands speed to market, so the project schedule allowed just seven months from start to finish. Craven has had as many as 225 people working around the clock to meet the deadline.
“It is one of the fastest projects I have ever done,” he said, “but it came together quickly because we have a great team of people involved.”
Craven had about 15 years of construction experience when he joined Haskell in 2001. In previous Haskell assignments, he has overseen the construction of elephant barns and enclosures at White Oak Conservation in Yulee, Florida, the largest military aircraft hangar in the United States at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and numerous food and beverage facilities throughout the US.
One of his most challenging projects may also have been one of the most rewarding. Craven spent more than two years as superintendent on a $72 million overhaul of four city blocks of downtown Boynton Beach, Florida, a city in Palm Beach County with an estimated population of about 74,000 people. The project comprised a central energy plant, a cultural center, a civic center, a police office and fire station, and a four-story library and city hall, which has received awards from the Design-Build Institute of American and the Association of Builders & Contractors.
“During the early planning stages with the city of Boynton Beach, it was clear this was going to be a complex project,” said David Bates, Haskell’s Vice President of Construction. “The extensive planning and ongoing coordination with the client and surrounding community, coupled with a complex site … made it clear we needed Rick Craven as superintendent.”
That has been Craven’s work life since he changed his mind about becoming a lawyer. After receiving his associate degree from then Florida Junior College in Jacksonville in 1985, his brother-in-law asked him if he’d like a construction job for the summer. After starting as a laborer, Craven quickly became fascinated with the construction process and began taking blueprints home to study. He ended up with a license not as a lawyer but rather as a general contractor.
“He’s a bit of an old-time superintendent,” said Tim Mosley, Senior Manager of Field Personnel. “He is collaborative with the subs so that they buy in and work together to make it happen. He is dedicated to his projects.”
Craven is a strong proponent of Haskell’s Permanent Craft Employee (PCE) program, which provides a highly skilled workforce familiar with Haskell’s culture and expectations. When the opportunity arises, he likes to get his hands dirty and demonstrate a construction skill or technique. It may be his favorite part of the job.
“I have respect for them,” he said. “Sometimes I like to disappear and jump in a hole with a piece of equipment with them. But that phone is always in my back pocket. When it rings, I have to answer it and go answer some questions.”
He and his wife of 31 years, have two grown sons and three grandchildren. Their home is in Callahan, Florida, but they typically travel together to the project location on jobs that stretch to a couple of years in duration. It has allowed them to explore the country together.
Craven said he’s looking forward to turning the keys over to the current client and enjoying some time deep-sea fishing on his 25-foot center-console NauticStar. But he’s also looking forward to whatever Haskell has for him next.
“I love this company so much, he said. “When I was in South Florida on a job, I had a competitor offer me more money, but I didn’t take it. I work for the greatest company I could imagine.”
Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 1,800 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.
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