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Getting to Know the ‘Bridge Brothers’: Anthony

Monday, September 18, 2017

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Each week, PaintSquare Daily News, in partnership with 4th Coast Productions, will be introducing you to a different worker featured in the new documentary Bridge Brothers. This week’s interview subject is Anthony Lovich; Anthony, a site supervisor, works with the Corcon Inc. crew that worked on the Commodore Barry Bridge and Walt Whitman Bridge jobs featured in the film, though he joined up with the crew after the Commodore Barry portion was complete.

Anthony Lovich
Courtesy of 4th Coast Productions

Anthony Lovich is a supervisor with the Corcon crew painting the Walt Whitman Bridge.

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

PaintSquare Daily News: Where did you grow up, and how did you get into this business?

Lovich: I grew up in Rockaway Beach, Queens, and one of my friends was into [bridge painting] for about a year, and I decided to try it out. I waited in line overnight for the application for the 806 union, then got the application and got a job the next week. My daughter’s 19, so I’ve been doing this 20 years now.

You’re a supervisor now; what other jobs have you had on bridge sites—have you done it all, or do you have any sort of specialty?

Usually when you start out in this industry, you go to vacuuming. So I did vacuuming for a little bit, then in the second year of my career, I ended up running a paint crew as an apprentice, which is really unheard of. Then by the third year, I started running jobs.

There’s probably not a typical day for you in your position, but what kind of stuff are you generally in for when you get in in the morning?

As soon you get in, it’s nothing but problems! I’m a supervisor, then you have foremen throughout, and you’re always having problems, every single day, whether it be one guy’s missing, I’m missing two guys, I don’t have this tool, I don’t have that—you’ve gotta organize everything in the beginning. Even when you sort that stuff out in the morning, you still find problems throughout the afternoon.

A lot of the workers doing tasks like blasting say they can only last so long because of the physical demands of the work, and they’re looking to retire to other jobs like coating inspection. Your job as a supervisor is probably at least slightly less physically taxing; do you see yourself staying in this work or having a different trajectory?

It is a lot less physical work on my side, without a doubt. But I did do all that stuff, too, when I was coming up—I can still paint, all that. Where do I want to be? Honestly, I want to move—I want hot weather! I want to quit this bridge industry and move to Florida. I don’t want to sit here my whole life; even when you’re a supervisor. It’s a really stressful environment: All the way down to the vacuumers, all the way up to the foremen, the supers, the owners, the environment is really stressful. You try to make it as fun as you can every day, but it’s definitely a hard job, every aspect of it. People don’t realize how much work is involved in this job.

And there’s always pressure, obviously, to keep it moving, get the job done on time, keep it on budget.

Yes. You’ve always got deadlines, and it’s hard, especially when you get all these rain days. We’ve got guys out here that are willing to even work in the rain. A lot of times, you can’t do work in the rain, so we leave rain days, moving tarps, cleaning up garbage, we do that kind of stuff in the rain, and these guys will work eight hours in the rain. A lot of these guys are really, really dedicated workers.

How does your role as a supervisor affect how you get along with the rest of the crew? Do you have to play the bad guy, and does that interfere outside of work?

Me, I try to play good guy. We’ve got one owner, Mike, he plays the bad guy. I try to play the good guy; I like all these guys, they’re busting their butts every single day, in and out. I’m friends with a lot of them. Some of these guys live close to my house; some of these guys you’ll work with for two or three years on a project, then you won’t see them for about 10 years, and then you’ll meet up with them again at another bridge and it’s like you never left these guys. Fortunately for me, right now, this job is about 10 minutes from my house, so I don’t have to travel all that far, but these other guys from out of town, it’s crazy. I don’t go out to dinner with them right now, but when I’m out of town, any of these guys I’m working with, even if I’m in charge, we’ll always go out to dinner and stuff like that, all the time.

Get your copy of Bridge Brothers today!

You work long days and long stretches—what’s life like outside of work for you?

I just started coaching my son’s soccer team this year, so I leave here at 5:00 or 6:00, I have just enough time to run home, take a shower, get changed, I don’t even have time to eat. I take my son, we go to practice, that goes from 7:00 to 8:30, we get home about 9:00 at night. So I get up at 4:30 in the morning, leave my house around 5:00, and I don’t get back into my house until about 9:00.

What did you think of how Bridge Brothers portrayed your job?

They did a really good job! I really wish somebody would pick it up, as a TV show or something like that, because there’s so much more to show—all the personalities, from that movie, you guys only got a little taste of what goes on.

Did you have a favorite part of the movie, or a favorite scene?

I think my favorite part was when they did a clip of me and Mike Hostal together. Mike Hostal is the project manager on this job, on the Walt Whitman Bridge. We’ve been working together since 2001, I believe, off and on. We’re always teasing each other, me and Mike Hostal, always making fun of each other. So they did a little interview with me, “What do you think of Mike Hostal?” And they did a little interview with him, “What do you think about Anthony?” And we went back and forth about each other.

Bridge Brothers runs 1 hour and 40 minutes, and is available as a DVD/Blu-Ray set, which comes with a 24-page booklet. The film is available via Technology Publishing Company's TPC Store.


Tagged categories: Bridge Brothers; Bridges; Corcon Inc.; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Workers

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