In 1956 I arrived at the office for my first day of work at the company then called Kreisler Borg in Westchester County, N.Y. The firm was one year old and had completed its first two jobs with a total contract value under $75,000. I was welcomed with jovial sentiments, then promptly presented with the plans and specifications for the next project to be bid.
I remember it well: the repairing of wooden fenders on the Cross Bay Parkway Viaduct in Queens. The work consisted of removing and replacing large creosote timbers along with some of the wooden piles to which they were attached. Below the waterline the connections consisted of metal brackets, and a considerable amount of underwater welding was required. This was not like anything I had seen before, but an estimate is an estimate—labor, materials and equipment—and the bid was due in about a week. I set to work. After a bit of quick research, I was able to speak somewhat knowingly on the telephone with owners of piledriving companies as well as with experts in marine carpentry, and most important, with a diver named Barney who specialized in underwater welding.