February 12, 2016 marks a special day for both Scherer Construction and our Superintendent Monte Lewis. Today we celebrate Monte’s 20th year anniversary as a Scherer employee. Monte, aka the Big Red Machine, has been a large contributor to the overall success of Scherer Construction with his strong work ethic, his drive for quality work, and always wanting to learn how to do the job better. With over 54 years of construction experience under his belt, Monte is deemed a landmark here at Scherer.
To shine the light further on his success, Marketing Director Sara Emmanuel interviewed Monte:
SE: Twenty years with Scherer Construction is quite a milestone. What is the main reason for your dedication to this company?
ML: Scherer is my family and I have the respect from my peers and from my boss. This is so much more than a job to me and, as I have watched this company grow over the years, I am still so proud of who we are and what we are- which has never changed. The integrity my boss continuously upholds is impeccable and that is something I want to be a part of.
SE: Tell me about your beginnings in the construction industry.
ML: I was first trained as an electrician in 1961 but I really wanted to do more than just electrical so in 1966 I moved over to construction. I started out as a laborer for a company that was building residential houses in Hollywood, FL. By the following week, I was promoted to Foreman. The next week, I moved up again to a Carpenter. By week 4, I was a Superintendent. I was one of a few who could actually read plans and I worked well with others.
SE: Do you remember your job interview with our President, Doug Wilcox?
ML: I sure do. By this time I had worked for many companies as well as having owned my own business for several years. I knew how the interview process went and while he was interviewing me, I was interviewing him too. Doug was young and eager but straight to the point. At one point during the interview, I asked Doug how long he planned on being in business and he replied he was in it for the long haul. I knew then I was in the right place because that was the type of company I wanted to join. Twenty years later, we are both still hauling.
SE: What was your first job as a Scherer Superintendent?
ML: A Rite Aid Drug store in Live Oak, FL.
SE: What has been your most memorable moment so far at Scherer?
ML: This is easy. It was when after 5 years of working with Scherer, Doug presented me with the 10 Year Scherer ring and said I want to see you here at least 10 more years. That was 15 years ago. He believed in me and that meant a lot.
SE: What are your thoughts about how much technology such as iPads, smart phones, and electronic documents have become such a vital component to how projects are constructed?
ML: We have come a long way. I still remember standing in a phone booth in winter with about $10 worth of quarters making my morning calls to the subcontractors. Now you really have to stay on top of things because the technology changes so much and everyone uses something different. An 800 page spec book and full set of plans is much easier to carry around on an iPad, though.
SE: With your long history of being in this business, what advice or words of wisdom would you like to share with your peers?
ML: First thing is to never tell a lie. If you’ve made a mistake or messed something up, own up to it, apologize, get it fixed, and move on. Secondly, be proactive not reactive. Being proactive, you are making money – being reactive you are losing it. Also, continue to learn and grow. People are relying on you and you always do what you say you are going to do. Study those plans and specs and work hard to deliver a project everyone can be proud of. Set some goals for yourself.
SE: Final question- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
ML: Still working for Scherer, of course! Speaking of setting goals, I told Doug a long time ago my goal was to build $100M worth of work for Scherer. I believe I am pretty close, so until I get to that mark, I’m still working.