Chapter 185

Tuesday started off where Monday left off – in meetings and on the phone. To end the calls from the group of possible employees I finally set up a 6 PM meeting at the gym. I was beginning to think that they thought I was pulling their leg with the job offer. I told them they could bring their immediate spouse if they wanted to hear the full offer and benefits again.

By ten I thought I had weathered the worst of the day. Wrong! The contractor was moving more equipment to the site of the second new dorm. A very large tracked crane had been brought in and assembled yesterday. It had taken four tractor trailers to bring the boom and four more just to bring in the main base of the crane.

Something went terribly wrong as the crane was working its way between A and B dorms. The foundation to new dorm F had been poured last year along with the foundation to E (to save time and money) and was at the end of A and B dorms. The operator swung the boom over dorm B to gain more clearance from the power line pole near A. While over B the boom collapsed, taking with it a section of all three floors to the ground.

The impact shook the coffee cup on my desk and rattled the windows. I knew immediately something bad had happened and it was close by; even before the system alarms went blasting off on the console.

There was a firewall that went from the ground level straight up through the roof every 100 feet. A complete 100 foot three story section in the middle of the building was rubble, less than 10 feet high. To add to the mess, the fire sprinkler system in the largest standing piece was now dumping 30 gallons a minute into every room.

A quick thinking maintenance person had the system and power shut off after two minutes. Everything in every room was now saturated.

The powers that be called an emergency meeting of all general staff in security’s meeting room – that included me.

Before I went into the meeting, I called Richard Bozman telling him I wanted a complete set of pictures of the crane and all attachments and components before anyone had a chance to remove any critical evidence.

OSHA and MOSHA would investigate but I wanted a record for a different set of eyes to look at.

I was in the meeting for half an hour before I finally had enough of the pity party. “We cannot do anything about the part that is on the ground, we have to salvage what is left to be able to use it and we are wasting time. Have the maintenance department take pictures of each of the flooded rooms, then strip them. Send the linens to the laundry before they mildew. Throw out the carpet and the mattress; somebody’s insurance will pay for new carpet and mattress. Then have a flood contractor here tomorrow to dry out the rooms.”

“Then stop all work on E and have the contractor rebuild the damaged section. Let the lawyers, courts and the insurance company settle their differences, otherwise you are going to be renting motel rooms for the 60 displaced students,” I said. “You have sixty days before students are standing in admission.”

“If you want to get started stripping the rooms tonight, I will call all the part-time security employees to work tonight as many hours as they can to help maintenance strip them. Maintenance has to get the lights on. The decision needs to be made soon,” I said.

Ten minutes later I started calling everyone on the list. By 1:00 I had 80% of the part-timers in the meeting room explaining what they were to do to help the maintenance department.

When I left I took copies of the job applications and the background checks from HR that the 20 had submitted to KCC. After my meeting with them tonight, if they were serious about working for us, they could use them to fill out JBG applications.

When I arrived at the gym the parking lot was full. A construction company was putting down the millings and applying the special seal coating on the new west parking lot. I had noticed the pillars for the roof had been installed when I returned from Rochester last Friday.

There were smiles all around when I made it to the office. Southern Co-op had more people there and Jeanna was there again, so were our corporate lawyers. Marcy was stacking papers in front of each chair. After she finished, she nodded me to the direction of my office and closed the door behind us.

“It’s a great deal for us. We have to pay Mom thru Mid West 1 point more than normal for this kind of loan but we are making 2 points over that. All the vehicles will be titled with JBG as co-owner. They are self insured up to 50 million. Next year they are going to expand by 100 more vehicles, mostly large trucks and heavy equipment. The agreement with Mid West is open ended to cover any expansion,” Marcy said.

“Sounds like a good deal, you did great with the negotiations!” I replied as I applied a hug.

“I need Mark, Cindy, Jason, Roseanne and the rest of us to be here at 6. I have hopefully 20 possible temporary employees for Rochester coming for a Q & A session and job offers.”

We signed all the contracts. In three weeks Marcy and Shelia would meet in Georgia to pay off the other leasing company and assume ownership of all the vehicles of Southern Co-Op. On August 1st they would begin making lease payments to MAAR. The final count was 379 pieces with the intended addition of 100 more next year.

After a light supper we were back in the office. Gale – who was working the cash window – began sending up people at 5:45. By 6 there were 45 guests, plus my group. The big meeting table was full, with a second row of chairs around it, facing my group. Every one of them had brought a significant other and several, a couple of teenagers.

I introduced myself then the rest of my group. I explained the jobs, the requirements, the physical fitness and testing that we did, where the jobs were, the short term and permanent offerings, and finally the pay with the out of state bonus and the use of the dorm for housing. Then I sat myself up.

“Any questions, do any of you want a job?”

Questions on benefits and testing went to Jason and Roseanne along with details of how pay would work.

Ching Lee and Vicky handled how additional jobs would be advertised and physical fitness portion in the gym.

Jenny answered about questions about background checks and things that would disqualify a candidate.

Marcy answered a question about spouses working. “Yes, they can both work but they cannot supervise one another nor approve any paperwork.”

The last question was, “When can I start?”

“Right now by filling out an application and be here tomorrow. Just pick a time slot to start the testing and training,” I replied. “There are morning, afternoon and evening slots,” as I passed out applications.

“If you want a few minutes with your significant other, that’s fine – just take a walk down the hall or if you really need the time to think it over, call in the morning. Tomorrow the jobs hit the help wanted in Rochester.”

Jenny, Marcy and Lorrie stayed with me as the rest of my group left. I thanked them for staying and helping. Several asked for pens to fill out the application, including two couples. Some walked down the hall to a private area.

Half an hour later we had a stack of filled applications and as many that would let us know before noon tomorrow. I doubted that we would get a ‘No’ from any of them. We called it a night.

Over at the house we broke out a bottle of champagne to celebrate the addition of southern Co-op to the leasing group. It may not have seemed like much but a 2 point spread plus direct payment for administrative cost and the addition of 400 vehicles for 10 years was a big deal!

Edit by Alfmeister

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