President Bush Pumps with a Putzmeister
President Bush Pumps with a PutzmeisterPresident Bush, a concrete pump operator? Well, he posed as one while in Atlanta on Monday, June 24, when he pumped concrete with a 38X-Meter Putzmeister boom pump provided by Dollar Concrete Construction Company of Norcross, Ga.
President Bush was promoting minority home ownership in Atlanta. Specifically, he was visiting Park Place South, an ongoing federally funded housing project, which promotes a mixed community of low, middle and upper income families. This endeavor, like others in the area, has met with outstanding success in revitalizing depressed urban areas.
As a result, President Bush was on the project site congratulating the city on its positive results. While he was there, a boom pump and building crew were demonstrating construction in progress. After the president presented the keys to three homeowners within the housing project, he made a beeline to the Putzmeister pump.
During this unscheduled detour to get a closer look at the boom pump in action, the president was invited to operate the unit and gladly accepted. Ray Wallen, Dollar Concrete's boom pump operator with 20 years' experience, quickly showed the president how to use the boom's controls.
After looking up in the sky at the unit, President Bush then pumped concrete, commenting on the ease and smoothness of the unit. With a grin on his face, he then thanked the group for the opportunity and wished them success.
Bush spent 30 minutes at projectL
Overall, the president spent about 30 minutes at the housing project, about one-third of that time with the construction crew. All of this was done under the watchful eye of the national media and about 80 Secret Service personnel.
"The size and scope of the Secret Service operations left a lasting impression," said Kevin Maginn, senior project manager of the new pumping division within Dollar Concrete. He further explained Dollar's involvement leading up to the pour.
The general contractor, PRS Construction, LLC for Park Place South, contacted Dollar on a Friday morning, 72 hours before the scheduled "presidential " tour. They inquired about Dollar's interest in supplying a boom pump and personnel to be on site during the visit.
From past working experience, the general contractor knew Dollar prided themselves on having top-notch personnel and felt confident four names could be provided within an hour - names which would easily pass Secret Service clearance by 4:30 p.m. that same day. They also knew that Dollar had one of the newest and most reliable boom pumps in the city, as requested by the president's planners. Painted a bright yellow, the concrete placing unit would prove highly visible on national TV.
Pump is polished
Dollar Concrete obliged. Once the names passed security checks, Dollar spent the weekend polishing their 3-month old Putzmeister pump. Meanwhile, the four chosen from Dollar - Kevin Maginn, Mark Gropp, Roger Braun, and of course, Ray Wallen, the operator, anxiously awaited the important pour.
At 6:00 a.m. on Monday morning, the general contractor and selected sub-contractors such as Dollar were on site, 18 people in total. At 7:45 a.m., the Secret Service arrived with a ratio of five Secret Service agents for each person on site. They briefed the group by fully outlining the detailed plans scheduled during the president's tour.
Covering all bases, they also informed the contractors how to handle a possible change in plans. For instance, Kevin was told that if the president came near the boom pump, he would need to put down his shovel before approaching him or shaking his hand. No one was trusted with tools that could turn into deadly weapons.
The Secret Service then proceeded to meticulously comb the site along with the surrounding fields and bluffs, looking for anything suspicious. They even placed snipers on nearby roofs. At 8:45 a.m., the group was ushered off site while six- trained German Shepherd dogs climbed in and out of the equipment and thoroughly inspected the entire area with their keen sense of smell.
Forty-five minutes later, the construction crew was ushered back on site and thoroughly searched from their hard hats to their boots. Of the 18 initially screened, one was not allowed back on site, which left a somewhat eerie feeling amongst the group.
Ready-mix truck inspected
The ready-mix truck arrived at 9:30 a.m. and was intensively inspected by the Secret Service. To detect any explosives, they looked under the hood and checked all the fluids, knocked the tires and even used mirrors to search under the chassis. Plus the dogs sniffed the entire vehicle.
At 10:15 a.m., a low-flying helicopter made a sweep of the area from 100 feet off the ground just prior to the 10:30 a.m. arrival of the president's motorcade. In a highly controlled atmosphere, the event then took place. Ironically, twenty minutes after President Bush left, the site was a ghost town.
Owner Jim Dollar was out of the country at the time but was thrilled his company was selected during the president's visit. Dollar Concrete, founded in 1972, is a highly successful turnkey "Division 3" subcontractor. The company has over 350 superintendents and technicians in the field with about 35 projects going on at any given time. They operate throughout the Southeastern United States and in nine major cities. The growing company recently moved to a new 70,000-square-foot facility 15 miles north of Atlanta with enough warehouse space to keep their fleet of heavy equipment undercover.
Create concrete pumping division
This past March, Dollar set up a new concrete pumping division. After researching all brands, the company chose Putzmeister and purchased their first 38X-Meter pump. Two more Putzmeister pumps will follow. The equipment will handle the company's own work and assist with the requirements of others in the local area. To date, word of mouth about their high quality work and their solid reputation has proven to be their best means of advertising.
However, the added publicity of President Bush operating their boom pump has generated some great exposure for the organization. As a result, Dollar Concrete nicknamed their Putzmeister unit "Pump Force I" with plans to name every new boom pump purchased thereafter with a successive number.
Pump Force II and III - both Putzmeister 32Z-Meter units - were scheduled for delivery eight weeks after the visit. However, Pump Force I is now available for hire by contacting Dollar Concrete at (770) 448-6008.