Chris Benton is a project superintendent at Connolly Brothers, where he has worked for 28 years, starting as a laborer in 1994, following stints as a lighthouse keeper and as general manager at Eastern Point Yacht Club in Gloucester, Mass. He studied carpentry at Bay Path Regional Vocational Technical High School in Charlton, Mass., and he lives with his wife in Beverly, Mass.
What drew you to construction?
“I started banging nails at ten years old. Nobody does that anymore because insurance simply won't allow it, but I was that kid who grew up watching the guys running tractors and bulldozers. I grew up on a farm that got subdivided into ranch houses, so I could run a backhoe better at 12 than I can right now. I loved it. You know what you graduated to? Water mains and sewers. Later, I went to trade school. People don't start that way today, so you have to be willing to work with them on massaging skills and quality control."
What makes you successful in your role at Connolly?
“This is a very experienced team of builders, and in terms of the Connolly family, there is just one instruction: 'Do it right.' The rule is you're not going to get in trouble for doing it right. Connolly hires excellent subcontractors. I have to pay attention to safety, first and foremost, every day, and give these guys a path to complete their work while avoiding backward steps. I always tell my guys, 'We're going to take the time to make sure it's set up right.' That's what a good super does. Do it right and everything else will work itself out. That's kind of the secret to success here, and 140 years into it, they're still doing it right."
What do you enjoy about your work at Connolly?
“The people here at Connolly are phenomenal. You know, when guys are coming in, they think of this as a technical business, but really, it's a people business. Everyone has money on the line and everyone is trying to move ahead without running into obstacles. I also appreciate the fact that, on a job site, people are very direct. You always know where you stand."
What are some of the projects you've worked on that stand out in your mind?
“I started out with Connolly doing work for Eastman-Kodak for the first few years, and then I spent several years doing work for MITRE. The work we did for AMG was a pretty challenging and rewarding project – a very high-end piece of work. We did a big infrastructure job up at Turner Hill Golf Club. Right now we are working on New England Academy with a tight schedule, but for me, every project we do is memorable."
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