THE WINDS OF CHANGE BY ERIC REDDING
No matter what, tomorrow always comes, and things are always changing. Our Business Manager Jeff Sullivan has decided to make a change in his life, too. He has celebrated an incredible career of over 40 years and brought stability and prosperity to the members of District Council 35, so now it is his time to enjoy the retirement that he so rightly deserves. I’ve had the honor to work with Jeff both in the field doing drywall finishing side-by-side with him and in the office doing day-to-day work at the District Council. Jeff has always been a complete professional no matter where he was and was always a pleasure to work with. Jeff, I wish you nothing but the best. I hope you enjoy everything in your retirement – you have certainly earned it. Congratulations, my friend.
I would like to welcome our new Business Manager Chris Brennan. Chris has worked extremely hard over the years as a Business Representative and has made quite a reputation for himself as being someone whom you can count on to be by your side when the going gets tough. Chris’s integrity and honesty speaks for itself. I feel very comfortable knowing that he is in the top leadership position of this council, and I look forward to working with him and the team that is DC 35.
As 2022 starts to get closer to the end, it appears as though the work that we have been looking forward to is starting to come around. The business representatives have been placing all of the registered apprentices to work, and now there is a steady stream of accepted applicants filling the vacancies left behind. It’s a great feeling knowing that this increase in hours and opportunity for our members is on our doorstep waiting for us to take advantage.
Offshore wind is the next big challenge we will be embracing. There are currently 2,100 offshore windmills slated to be built off the East Coast, from Canada to Florida. These are no ordinary windmills; each one will be between 15 and 50 miles offshore and will be a minimum of 500 feet tall from the base to the top of the transmission tower. The towers alone are three stories high, and if you point the blades straight up, they rise an astounding 750 feet from the water below. These mammoth windmills are already starting to be built off the coast of Cape Cod and Martha’s Vineyard. To prepare for this, we have started training some of our members with new sea survival techniques at local training facilities. The South Shore Building Trades, in connection with Building Pathways South, secured a grant that gave us seven spots to have members trained at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. In addition, our own International Finishing Trades Institute gave us three spots at Sea Survival Academy in Groton, CT. This training is specialized for the rigors of offshore life. Keep in mind that working on these windmills will require our members to work two weeks on and two weeks off. The two weeks on will involve living at sea on a ship dedicated as housing. This is a game changer for a lot of us and I look forward to rising up and meeting these challenges.
So remember, every day we meet the challenges of tomorrow, because tomorrow always comes, and if it doesn’t, well, I guess we don’t have anything to worry about, do we.