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Industry Folks - Don Drake, Moore Erection LP

image Don Drake, Safety Director

SAN ANTONIO - Born and raised in Denver, CO, Drake spent the first 15 years of his life in the Mile-High City until he moved to Phoenix, AZ where he would spend the next 15 years before coming to the Lone Star State to work in 1991.





    Having worked in construction his entire life, Drake ended up in Texas when the residential construction market plummeted in the early ‘80s and hearing from his sister-in-law that there was a lot of work in Texas.  Drake, his wife Leah, and their five children moved to Texas and his career as an ironworker soon unfolded. 
    Drake, with just basic public school education, credits his construction knowledge and skills from the school of hard knocks.  Now, a safety director for the past three years, Drake finds himself continuing his education in a more official capacity completing courses necessary to be a qualified safety professional.
    “I had started going to safety meetings and realized what our safety program needed and the changes that needed to be made.  That’s when I decided I was going to take on the responsibility. Even though I’ve been in construction all my life, I had a lot to learn on the safety side.  Now three years into it, I’m still green, so educating myself is ongoing.  I’m constantly getting the training to keep us at a safe and productive level.  I’ve completed OSHA 500 & 510 and Train-the-Trainer for forklift, booms and scissor lift certification courses. 
    “When I decided to take on this role, I didn’t think about the challenges and the responsibilities that were involved.  My position is challenging.  There is a lot of weight on my shoulders as safety director.  I have 50 to 60 men out there in the field.  Their lives are now resting on my shoulders.” 
    Drake has five grandchildren and a small dog, a Pomeranian named Lit’l Bit, to occupy his time after work.  But recently has adopted a new hobby to fill in any gaps.
    “A couple of months back, I bought a Triumph, a British motorcycle, that was sitting in a garage for 14 years untouched.  A friend of my son’s father had approached me several years back to buy this bike and, well, I just never did anything about it because there was always something more important to buy.  But I finally did after one of my boys told me the bike was still there sitting in their friend’s dad’s garage who had since passed away.  I jumped on it.   I got it, brought it home, washed it and waxed it; and man, it looks brand new.  It’s beautiful.  I have it taken apart at the moment, but should have it up and running in about a month. 
    “I’ve found something I really enjoy doing, restoring this bike.  I still have to get my motorcycle license, but when I do, you won’t see me.  I’m going to be gone.   You’ll never know where I’ll be.” -cmw

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Author Info
Carol Wiatrek meditor@constructionnews.net