Core Value Story: I Get It Done!
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” - Thomas Edison.
If you’ve had the pleasure to work alongside Laborer Martin Stefanov, you might recognize him from a distance, dressed in Dickies overalls everyday while the rest of the crew dons carpenter pants or jeans. Martin, originally from Sofia, Bulgaria, came to the United States in 2014 to work in construction and “live the American dream.” As a young boy, he watched his dad working in construction, laying ceramic wall tiles. Like many kids, we want to be like our parents when we grow up. You could call it family tradition. You could say it’s in his blood or DNA. You could even call it a sense of pride. But you can, without a doubt, call it a passion.
Over the last four years, Martin has worked as a laborer with C.D. Smith on projects such as Waupun Memorial Hospital, St. Agnes Women and Infants Unit and most recently Acuity Northeast Buildout in Sheboygan. His primary role on sites as a laborer is hanging and installing drywall but will adapt to whatever task his superintendent assigns him. Martin says he absolutely loves drywalling exclaiming, “it’s what I have the most experience in, and I love it!”
Having crew members who take pride in their work, and really have a knack for a specific trade, helps to elevate the quality of work C.D. Smith can deliver. It’s people like Martin who are skilled, willing to learn more about their trade, as well as others, that differentiate our project team from others in our industry. The time that it takes to perfect a skill shows the dedication and effort that is needed to become a master at that craft, a trait that we believe is part of the culture here at C.D. Smith.
One of the most rewarding aspects of construction is the ability to see a project site start, and leaving it looking completely different. A project, no matter the size, becomes a part of your life. Every time you drive by a project on the highway, see photos of it in the paper or on social media, you can say, “I helped build that.” Martin says that being able to show his family and friends the places that he’s worked is one of his favorite parts of his job at C.D. Smith.
Martin truly exemplifies C.D. Smith’s core value of hard work. Superintendent Corey Krusick tells a story of a time while working at Acuity, two years ago where his crew was demolishing a stone wall. This job didn’t allow for power tools, rather some good ole fashioned sledgehammers and elbow grease. While other guys grumbled at the thought of demolishing a wall with sledgehammers all day, Martin never complained. He just got it done. He was always smiling, always positive and happy to be there. Corey says, “He’s not afraid to get his hands dirty. And will do it with a smile, always.”
We’ve all experienced projects in our careers, where a task seems daunting, maybe impossible and for a second you think, “there’s no part of me that wants to do this.” But the next moment comes and you realize that you must do this in order to keep the project moving forward. No one else is going to waltz onto the job site and magically do the work for you, so you have to get it done. Martin says this is what he loves most about his job. There are many parts of construction that aren’t glamorous—you’re covered in dust, mud, sweat or chilled to the core. There are many days that are just a grind—hard, laborious work all day. But those days make you better, because all the other days seem so much easier. You can tell yourself, “I remember that one day where we thought the task was impossible, so now this task doesn’t seem so bad.”
Corey tells another story around demolishing this wall at Acuity, but it presented a challenge. The wall was close to the office spaces that were still occupied by employees during the daytime hours. To complete the work without disrupting the daily workflow of Acuity’s staff, C.D. Smith came to work overnight. From 6 pm to 6 am Corey’s crew worked to demolish the wall. Although, many of us would rather be sleeping through the night versus demolishing a wall, Corey was counting on his guys to get the job done. But without hesitation, Corey’s crew accepted the challenge, showed up in the afternoon and worked all through the night, adapting to get the job done. He says, “Martin never complained, never argued. You can count on him to do anything on the jobsite.”
Martin embodies the strong work ethic that C.D. Smith takes pride in. We show up, work hard, get things done and we aren’t afraid to get our hands dirty in the process. Martin thanks the crews that he works with every day at C.D. Smith, applauding them for working safer than crews he’s been with in the past. He says, “they’re totally different, totally better. Everyone wants to go home safe.”
The safety culture that has been instilled on our jobsites enables our crews to work smarter, maximizing their work potential. If given the challenge, C.D. Smith will outwork anyone in the industry, and do it with fewer injuries. We are proud of our superintendents, safety monitors and field employees for living our Core Values and “Think Safe, Work Safe” culture to deliver the highest quality spaces to our clients.