We continue the anniversary celebrations, recognizing Andy Chaires, who has been with Columbia for ten years.
Growing up, Andy used to work with his father, who was a plumber. He really enjoyed the work, and before starting college, he decided to work in the trades for a year. During that time, he recalls speaking with a Senior Project Manager on one of the projects he was working on and remembers thinking – “someday I want to run construction projects of my own.”
Now, having worked in the construction industry running projects for the last 20+ years, Andy has accomplished his goal. The technical knowledge and wealth of experience he has gained through the years has allowed him to plan and execute many challenging and rewarding projects for such clients as Tufts University, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife, and the Hotel Commonwealth Boston to name a few.
What was your first job?
My first job was in the 9th grade, working for The Equipment Shop in Bedford, MA. It was a family-run business that produced equipment for disabled children. I learned how to assemble and package various pieces of equipment, then ship the equipment throughout the US and overseas.
What have you liked most about working at Columbia?
The family atmosphere.
What lesson did you learn early-on in your career that you still carry with you today?
Working as a solid team on a project is far more productive than working in individual groups.
Career highlight? Or most memorable job while working here at Columbia?
It’s hard to say one project is more memorable than another. Each project is unique and has its special aspects.
At the MCLA Science Building, we installed a wind turbine on the roof. At Tufts University, we demo‘ed an existing lab adjacent to a lab that contained frogs while also being over a sleep lab and medical prosthetic manufacturing facility. It was quite challenging because we couldn’t disturb any of the space. Also at Tufts, we replaced an existing roof with entirely new roof truss assemblies and built a high-tech lab with gases that would ignite when exposed to air. Recently, at the Newbury Boston Hotel we installed a new glass roof system with operable glass panels on the 17th floor of the building. Currently, I’m building a gorilla exhibit. Each project has something memorable - you just have to find it.
Three descriptors that best describe you.
Family Man | Scout Dad | Jack of all Trades
Special talent or most useful skill?
Favorite vacation spot?
Bow Lake in New Hampshire
Kenny Chesney concert with my family
Two items on your desk?
Lots of paper and a cup of coffee!!
Cat or dog?
Morning person or night owl?
Outside of the office, you will likely find Andy spending quality time with his family. They often visit New Hampshire, where they enjoy a day at the beach, river hop, or go hiking. Andy also has a knack for fixing things, and can always be found working on a project. He dedicates a lot of his personal time to the Boy Scouts of America as a Scout leader, and values being a mentor to his sons and other Scouts.