Third-generation bridge painter Duane Mensch has been suspended from many bridges, including the 3,030-foot New River Gorge Bridge in Fayetteville, West Virginia. “I was the guy who put the cable there so everyone else could work.”
But the bridge industry wasn’t the end of the story for Duane. While stringing cable over the Ohio River, a man crossing the bridge stopped to complain about the traffic. They got to talking, he asked Duane if they had a “NACE guy” (National Association of Coating Engineers), and he offered Duane a job in the oil and gas industry on the spot.
Duane, who suffered several injuries from bridge work, says the most attractive thing about oil and gas is “being able to walk up to your work and put your hands and eyes on it without leaving the ground.”
Since then, Duane has worked his way up from coating inspector to project field coordinator to assistant construction manager to construction manager. “I’ve worked 14-16 hours a day, everyday of my life,” he reflects. “I’ve worked hard.”
One of the biggest challenges he faces as a construction manager is resource management—a challenge that RigUp has helped him overcome.
Usually the relationship with a consulting firm is just a conduit for payment, Duane says, with a lack of availability to answer questions or provide support being the status quo.
“RigUp has not been like that. They’ve always made sure I got paid and my people got paid,” he says. “Insurance wise, they’ve always made sure everyone is enrolled in benefits who wanted to be enrolled.”
And Duane says RigUp’s support extends above and beyond the consistent pay and benefits, ensuring everyone on his crew has the training and certification they need.
“They’ve always given me the feeling of comfort and assurance that ‘We’re going to take care of you’.”
Duane attributes a lot of the success of his career to the support he’s received over the years, from the man who offered him a job above the Ohio River to the people at RigUp.
“They have their thumb on the pulse of things, and I’ve been at other companies where I was just a number. I’m proud to be part of such a supportive team. I love my job and I couldn’t have imagined the position that I’m in now.”
A big part of his love for the job comes from his love of family. He says he’s grateful to have the means to give his six children opportunities and experiences “that I wouldn’t have been able to dream of them doing without this job.”