July 7, 2017
July Feature: Meet Siena’s Andy Garnitz
In July, Andrew Garnitz celebrates his two-year work anniversary at Siena Construction. As a Project Superintendent, Andy serves on job sites to plan, supervise and evaluate the work of construction personnel. Like many at Siena, Andy started working in construction at a young age, learning trade work through family connections. Known as an easy-going and flexible team player by his colleagues, Andy has worked in many construction project environments, including on college campuses, hospitals, and laboratories. This versatility extends to his life outside of Siena – he once played in a rock & roll band, and he’s also adjusting to life as a new father. We asked Andy a few questions about his interests and work, and how the two inform one another. Thank you for all you do for Siena, Andy. Happy Anniversary!
Please tell us about your 15 minutes of fame as a rock star.
I was in a 90’s alt rock band in college. We played all the classics: Third Eye Blind, Eve Six, Hootie & the Blowfish, Sublime, Foo Fighters. We started off playing basement house parties, and by our senior year we were getting paid to play during the Senior Week graduation events.
How did being in a rock band prepare you for construction work?
As a Superintendent, your job is to orchestrate a dozen different subcontractors, all with their own agendas. If the taper doesn’t have his walls done on time, the painter can’t start, which means your ceiling grid is delayed, which pushes back your above ceiling inspections and ultimately your fire alarm testing. Similarly, in a rock band, if the lead guitarist starts his solo too early or misses a chord, the other band mates are all thrown off, the song is ruined, the audience will stop dancing, drinks will get spilled, and it can ultimately throw the whole universe off its course.
How did being a construction superintendent prepare you for being a dad?
They’re a lot more alike than you think! By nature, Superintendents are very good at putting out fires; that’s just the way the business works. Your window delivery could get delayed or a last minute design change can stop you from closing up a critical wall. Things happen that are not in your original plan and you need to create a work-around plan. I quickly realized that my infant son was not always going to follow our “plan”. We may plan to have a quiet night and watch a movie, but he decides to start teething and needs nurturing. It taught me to be more flexible and creative with my time.
How did you get into the construction business?
My father worked for a hardware/fastener company and was a jack of all trades. I was always out helping him work around the house as a kid. That transitioned to working for a home builder in high school/college summers doing decks and additions. In college Gilbane was building a new academic building on campus [at Ithaca College]. I walked into the trailer looking for a job, thinking I would be pushing a broom. They offered me an internship, and the rest is history.
What’s your most memorable success story at Siena?
We just completed construction on AFFOA’s Fabric Discovery Center headquarters in Cambridge. This job had it all: an expedited schedule, complex MEP systems, and a scope of work that required making a 20’x40’ opening in the roof in December. I remember running the MEP coordination meetings thinking that we were never going to get ductwork on site. We did – and we finished the job on time and safely!
What’s your favorite aspect of working at Siena?
The people. I feel like anyone at the company will do anything to help out a co-worker, both inside and outside of work. There’s a reason why so many people have been here since the start. I’ve yet to come across someone in the industry that has something negative to say about anyone at the company.
What are you proudest of in your work? What keeps you coming back for more?
Exceeding expectations. The client, architect, and property manager put their trust in us to execute their vision. It’s our job as builders to take the drawings and turn it into a reality. I love walking the job and showing off our work and progress to the team.
What do you enjoy in your spare time?
I love spending time with my wife Marybeth and our son Christopher – going on weekend adventures together, relaxing on the boat, or throwing a back yard BBQ with friends. I also play in 2 different men’s hockey leagues and try to fish as much as possible.
Favorite band: Red Hot Chili Peppers
Best concert ever: Countryfest
Favorite place in Boston area: Cocktail Cove, Beverly
Favorite vacation spot: Florida Keys during Tarpon season.
Favorite Restaurant: 75 Chestnut – our first date spot.