Meet Mark, Power Crane Operator

Ryan Jones, Ordway 9/11/13

It takes hundreds of people to make a project like the building of the Ordway’s new Concert Hall a reality. This is our opportunity to say “thank you” to just some of the hardworking men and women who are helping to make this happen here in Saint Paul.

If you look up at the sky over the construction site, sitting 140’ above the ground in the giant McGough crane, is Mark Petricka. Not many people get the view of Saint Paul that Mark has but he keeps his eye on the job as he navigates loads of bricks, cement and other construction items around the tight corners of the construction site. We spent a few minutes with Mark after a day on the job.

Ordway: How much training did you have to go through to be able to operate such a large crane?
Mark: I learned on the job. When I first started, it was on smaller hydro cranes. If I was on a job site and someone was sick, I’d be asked to step in. I just kept working in larger and larger equipment.

Ordway: Do you always win stuffed animals at those claw arcade games?
Mark: (Laughing out loud) Years ago, but it got a lot tougher. They really pack those stuffed animals into the space now.

Ordway: What is the most interesting thing you’ve witnessed a person doing from that height?
Mark: It’s very dangerous to take some of the large cranes apart. They have a lot of sway that you don’t really see from the ground. I was watching a huge crane being dismanteled and was amazed at how it came apart with precision.

Ordway: The Ordway is a well-known building in the community. How do you feel about working on a building that is a cultural icon of Saint Paul?
Mark: It is very cool! When I tell my friends what I’m working on, they all say, “Wow!”

When he is not digging massive foundations or basements, you can find Mark digging in his two-acre garden or getting ready for the hunting season.

The new Concert Hall at the Ordway–Prepare to be awestruck…again!

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