Here are some fun Frankie McGee facts.
For the past three years, McGee has been the Project Superintendent at the Rocky Creek and Lower Poplar wastewater plants in Macon, Georgia. The task was to refurbish these aging facilities while they remained in operation.
The $50 million-plus assignment has been one of the most challenging of his 38-year wastewater construction career. Every day seemed to pose its own challenge.
“There was constant flooding,” he said. “We had to deal with existing equipment that did not work. We’d have to fix everything around it to do even a simple task.”
The work has been done primarily with Haskell Permanent Craft Employees (PCEs). At the height of the job, McGee had 38 PCEs divided into six crews. He praised his crews for their ability to adapt to work conditions and learn on the job.
Early in the project, McGee brought in expert pipefitters to demonstrate and teach pipe skills to many crew members. It was a prime example of McGee’s leadership style.
“I’ve had guys who started for me as laborers and have worked their way up to foreman and running crews. I take a lot of pride in that,” he said. “I tell them to build a future for themselves. Take pride in your work. Whether it is digging a ditch or setting a piece of equipment, you are signing your name on that project. If you do something right, people will ask for you in the future.”
McGee is also customer-driven, said Director of Project Development Mike Hoisington, who, as Senior Project Manager on the Macon job, worked with McGee for the last five years. He recalled that when McGee tore down a couple of out-parcel buildings, he first salvaged workable garage doors and installed them on other buildings on site that needed them.
“He saw that he could relocate those doors,” Hoisington said. “In the long run, it saved the client money and added value to the project.”
Another time, McGee repeatedly found unacceptable work that the client’s inspectors were missing. As a result, the inspector was let go, and McGee took over quality control.
One assignment involved excavating old pipes that were under 16 feet of wastewater. McGee had worked with a gravity-based system in the past that he thought would work. Not only did his plan move millions of gallons of wastewater but did it at considerable savings to the customer.
“You just have to work outside of the box, as they say,” he said. “Sometimes I’m so far outside of the box I have to catch an Uber to get back.”
McGee is also valued for his insistence on work safety, said Paul McElroy, Director of Project Development. Surrounded by wastewater and working with old equipment in confined spaces, accidents are a daily concern.
“He has the ultimate experience in wastewater,” McElroy said. “He is the type of superintendent who allows me to sleep well at night. He has a commitment to safety and the quality of the work.”
McGee credits his father for that and more.
“My dad played a big role in where I am today,” he said. “It was not just safety, although that’s crucial. But it was also taking pride in what you do, giving the owner what they paid while protecting your interest and being a man of your word.”
McGee came to Haskell in 2016 after 34 years with his previous employer, which teamed with Haskell on a project. He was in the regular joint meetings, where he offered ideas and opinions about the job. After one meeting, an impressed Haskell executive gave McGee his card and invited him to call him if he ever “needed a job.”
McGee kept that card and three years later, he made that call. He appreciates Haskell’s culture. He never feels stranded on a difficult job.
“It’s a great company to work for,” he said. “I enjoy the team environment. At my old job I felt that a lot of times I was wearing too many hats. With Haskell, I have a lot of guys who have my back. They call and ask me what I need. They’ll tell me I am doing a good job.”
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