Tough Jobs: Building Caulker
While many people are just crawling out of bed at 7 a.m., or preparing for their daily commute, Ed Droel is already onsite, ready to begin his day. Chances are you’ve probably seen his work without even realizing it—but haven’t noticed.
Droel is a foreman for Burnsville-based Carciofini, a company that specializes in joint sealants for commercial properties, including Target Field, Mall of America, US Bank Stadium and projects elsewhere in the Midwest. “If people notice our work, that usually means we didn’t do a good job,” says Heather Grazzini, vice president of administration. Not only do Droel’s days start early, but they vary considerably depending on the type of project he’s assigned. While a majority of his work consists of caulking, other projects include installing expansion joint systems, “firestopping,” restoration and various types of coating. It’s also common for him to be working several stories above ground on a swing stage.
“When I first started, I had friends that would tell me I’m crazy or ask if I was afraid of heights,” he says. After eight years at Carciofini, being on a swing stage doesn’t faze him much: “We double-check everything to make sure it’s safe before we begin any work.”
With the intense and sometimes risky work come a number of perks. Besides the base wage and union benefits totaling nearly $60 an hour, there are bragging rights, of course. Plus, owners of the buildings Carciofini works on provide construction crews free lunches and event tickets.
The best part of the job for Droel, though, is seeing a job well done. “Caulking is essentially an art, and it’s rewarding when you can make things look good.”