Like the maestro of a Wagnerian opera, Michael Marchesano conducted a chorus of 400 workers, 19 concrete pumps, 208 mixers and eight batch plants to perform a 19.5-hour continuous concrete placement for the Wilshire Grand Center's foundation. A congested jobsite in the middle of downtown Los Angeles added to the drama, as did hundreds of onlookers, dignitaries and even a full marching band. But the entire operation went off without a hitch, thanks to a year of intricate pre-planning spearheaded by Marchesano, a general superintendent with Turner Construction.
"He is very meticulous and interested in every detail of a big construction event," says Brendan Murphy, Turner vice president and operations manager. "His passion for being a builder is the thing that makes the team rally around him."
On hand for the February 2014 placement, an adjudicator for Guinness World Records deemed the 21,200-yd operation to be the largest ever to be officially verified by the organization.
Marchesano and his team held dry runs to rehearse every scenario possible and create multiple backup plans in case a batch plant went down or a traffic accident stymied deliveries. As a result, the "calm and methodical" operation was performed safely, without the "slightest bit of chaos," Murphy says.
A fervent believer in the power of sequencing, Marchesano says he prides himself on having the vision to understand how complex projects fit together. That foresight will be tested over the next two years as the 1,018-ft-tall tower rises to become the tallest building west of Chicago. Currently, the concrete core rises to about one third of the final height of 73 stories, and steel placement has begun. The crew will soon grow to more than 800 workers.
But rather than being intimidated, Marchesano says he is excited to face the challenges ahead. "I've been a superintendent for 32 years, and I still look forward every single day to coming to work," he says.