Working with family day in and day out may not be for everyone, but it’s never a problem for Exiquio Garcia and his sons Gustavo and Edwin Garcia Rodriguez. In fact, their close bonds have helped them become one of the most sought-after crews by Haskell superintendents.
“Haskell has very good crews, but the Garcias are one of the best I’ve worked with,” Project Superintendent Brad Meadows said. “I’ve never seen a crew work as one unit like they do. It’s almost as if they move with one mind.”
Over the years, this hardworking family from Mexico has become experienced in all facets of construction, including mechanical, underground utilities, equipment operation, carpentry and concrete work. Today, they’re one of the most advanced underground piping and mechanical installation crews working on Haskell’s wastewater treatment projects.
Meadows can’t say enough good things about Exiquio and his sons. He worked with them for about two years on the Southwest Water Reclamation Facility project in St Petersburg, Florida, where they did the pipe installation. He said that when they’re unsure how to tackle a particularly difficult task, project managers are always keen to get the Garcias involved.
“They just dive in, pick it apart and then come up with a solution,” Meadows said. “To them, every obstacle is a challenge to be overcome.”
The Garcias are a prime example of how Haskell attracts, develops and retains talent. Perhaps no one knows that better than their friend and current project superintendent, Robert Dick.
“I’ve watched them learn and grow over the years,” Dick said. “I consider them not only great team members and team players but also a part of my own family.”
The family’s relationship with Haskell started in September 2006, when Exiquio joined as an operator. A quiet family man with an easygoing personality, he was the lead equipment operator on a huge ranch in Jackson, Mississippi, before he joined Haskell on a project in Savannah, Georgia. A few years later, in 2008, he brought his second-oldest son, Gustavo, aboard as his laborer.
“I was just 21 and still working in Mexico,” Gustavo said, “but I wasn’t earning much money, so this was a good opportunity for me. Pretty soon I was learning carpentry.”
Edwin, who is Gustavo’s younger brother, joined Haskell in 2012, and they’ve worked together traveling to job sites throughout the country ever since. Gustavo says he much prefers working in warmer states, like Texas, and Edwin agrees, saying, “We don’t like snow.”
Everything the brothers know about construction they have learned in the field. Never having gone to trade school, all their training has been provided by Haskell or gained through certification courses, such as Confined Space Entry Training.
Each construction project gives them a chance to learn new skills. In 2015, they worked with Dick at the Nestle Purina primary wastewater treatment facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania, where they trained in mechanical and underground utilities. All three excelled, and they have come to be Haskell’s best mechanical crew.
All three men are members of Haskell’s Permanent Craft Employee (PCE) program, which was established in the mid-1970s and extends full-time employment and benefits to skilled tradespeople, providing stability to these professionals and elevating project standards.
It’s common for Haskell to seed job sites with PCEs, which reduces the company’s dependence on subcontractors and gives it greater control over scheduling and quality. Only the best workers who are willing to travel and train become PCEs.
“Once you’re a PCE, Haskell is willing to invest time and money to grow your career,” Meadows said. “The Garcias are not unique, in that among the PCEs, we have quite a few families working together. But the Garcias do stand out.”
Dick added that the Garcias are consistently available when needed and that they’ll sometimes go four or five months without a break. In return, Haskell arranges for them to spend three or four weeks at a time with their family in Mexico. All three have wives and children there.
Father and sons see their relationship with the company as a two-way street. They work hard and are very safety conscious, and in return they get paid well and are treated fairly. Everyone is happy.
“We like working for Haskell, especially in the water division,” said Gustavo, who has worked his way up to Pipe Foreman. “Everything is different. Every plant. Every underground system. Even the procedures and guidelines in each state and county.”
The family crew will soon have to adapt to a quite different challenge, though. This spring, Exiquio is retiring at the age of 67. His sons and colleagues are pleased for him, although they will miss him on the job site. Dick says it will be like losing his right arm.
Fellow team members agree that it’s not only the Garcias’ skills that set them apart. They also exemplify Haskell’s Core Values of Team, Excellence, Service and Trust. It’s why they are such a good fit and so admired by their colleagues.
“I have a young son,” Meadows said, “and I just hope he grows up to have the work ethic and integrity that the Garcias do.”
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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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