By Shirley Shuman
Sometime during the week of March7-11, BCHS engineering and building construction students will visit a Rock Forge Bridge in Spencer where they will see how the work they recently finished has been used. For the second year in a row, instructor Robert Lloyd’s Carpentry I, II classes have completed an order for concrete panels to be used in construction of bridges in West Virginia. Their latest panels went straight to the Spencer bridge site.
Instructor Lloyd explained that his students “like to do hands-on work instead of book work.” He noted that the class usually has projects, both large and small, on which to work “Once this project rolls around, and the students start learning about what we are about to build, they take pride in their work,” he said.
The matter of taking pride in their work on these concrete panels showed in comments made by two of Lloyd’s carpentry students. Senior Charles Greenlief described the process students used to build the forms and how they made certain they were correctly constructed. “When we made the concrete forms, to get them together, we used 2×4’s and plywood and nailed them together.” Greenlief explained that, although some of the forms were long and slim and others were wide and shorter, they both required careful procedure.
“The work takes a lot of hand-eye coordination,” he said, “and many had to learn that skill. Many also learned how to cut precisely because if that isn’t done right, there will be gaps which will cause trouble [with the poured concrete.]”
One of Greenlief’s classmates, sophomore Nathan Cutlip, said that he learned precise measuring and improved his hand/eye coordination. Cutlip also emphasized how important it was that their instructor was there as they worked. “If we messed a cut up, Mr. Lloyd would be there to help you make corrections and explain,” he said.
Cutlip continued to give an example of one of his mistakes. “I was putting a piece of plywood on a 14” X 16′ long board and I didn’t follow the right procedure in nailing. I put the nails in all at once, and it made the structure crooked. Of course, I had to do it over,” he said. Both young men are pleased with the results of the class project and with the improvement of their skills.
Instructor Lloyd reinforced what his two students said about learning to produce excellent work. “Making sure these forms are correctly done for the customer was a top priority for our class. I told the class that if you do a poor job for your customer, it will probably be your last, If you do a great job for a customer, you will always have work.”
Lloyd continued to say that he teaches his students that “word of mouth is the best marketing tool you can get.” He added, “That being said, they knew what kind of work we needed to complete for Rock Forge in order for them to do their job correctly. [Also,] knowing that the forms they built are being used to build bridges is mind-blowing for most of the students.”
Obviously, Robert Lloyd teaches the importance of doing the best work possible in any circumstance. That may be the most valuable lesson of all.