Project Manager/Estimator Larry Neal has been with Barnes & Dodge since the beginning of his working career in 1977, back when he first started out as a sheet metal apprentice. After graduating to journeyman, he split his time between helping in the shop and working out in the field for the next 20 years.
Then, in 1996 when a vacancy opened up in the office, he was approached as the right guy for the job. He began estimating and managing projects, which turned out to be a very natural transition from the physical side of construction.
Larry’s years working with his hands gave him a better understanding of exactly what types of labor and material costs to expect; he says he couldn’t have achieved his current position without his extensive construction and fabrication background. Larry jokes that he’s the “last dinosaur” estimator who uses spreadsheets instead of comprehensive software and imaging programs, but that hasn’t slowed him down a bit.
Larry says the main challenge in being an estimator is making sure that the work comes in on or under budget, and lining up sufficient manpower with the right equipment
Because Larry’s been with Barnes & Dodge since the beginning of his career, he’s seen the company grow and change, along with kids who started out young and eventually moved into executive positions.
“The doors are always open,” Larry says about the management team at Barnes & Dodge. “I could go to them with any problems or needs.”
When asked what he enjoys most about his job, he says he’s always appreciated the collaborative effort among the different trades, meeting other people, and the satisfaction of a job well done.
The advice he’d offer to the young guys just starting out, he says, is if you’re just standing around, you won’t last very long. If you’re done with your project, then pick up a broom and start sweeping. He says it’s the same advice that was given to him coming in: “There’s always something you could be doing.”