Following 16 years at KBS, superintendent Tony Zimmer is hanging his hardhat and retiring on his birthday July 31. With a total of 47 years in the construction industry, Zimmer says retirement is already feeling like a strange concept.
“In the beginning, it’s going to be very strange — it’s already feeling very strange to me — but it will give me more time to do the things that I enjoy doing. The first six to ten months will be figuring out what it’s like to really be retired. I’m going to jump on some jobs around the house and have some fun with golfing, fishing, hunting and sports that I like to do,” says Zimmer.
Zimmer worked for KBS for several years in the 1980s. After some time away, he returned in 2004 and began working in the Special Projects Division. During that time, he managed smaller jobs such as an office warehouse, the Tarrington community clubhouse and pool and a small shopping center. Zimmer went on to do larger projects for repeat clients such as Ukrop’s Super Markets, Eastern State Hospital and the Virginia War Memorial.
When asked about his career at KBS, Zimmer said, “Working at KBS has been a great experience. It’s amazing to work at a place where you get along with everybody. And, just because you get along with everybody, doesn’t mean you can’t disagree. It just means there’s a lot of good, smart people at KBS. And, it really made the end of my career very satisfying.”
While Zimmer can be described as a man of few words, we sat down with him to reflect on his tenure at KBS. Here’s what he had to say:
What is one word you would use to describe your work at KBS?
Gratifying. I’ve worked hard at being a superintendent. Working for KBS, I’ve been able to climb the ladder to do bigger and bigger jobs and that has been very gratifying.
What advice would you give to a rookie assistant superintendent just starting out at KBS?
Especially in the beginning, stay ahead of the subs. Read their contracts. Know their scope of work. Know their materials and the schedule of their work. The first thing that I think would help a young person is to really know their subcontractors.
Which KBS project are you the proudest of and why?
That would have to be Eastern State Hospital. It was a high-profile job both in materials and workmanship. It was a very interesting job and a great learning experience. It had a little of everything in it – a hospital, a secure building and some things that we hadn’t done before. It was a good challenge with steel and concrete. And it was a project for a good cause in that its purpose was to help people.
Who has been instrumental in helping you be successful at KBS and why?
Sam Stocks was the person who always pushed me to further educate myself and better myself. He encouraged me to go to SWPPP training, get certified and go to lessons learned sessions. He really pushed me to grow and learn more.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, which KBS employees would you want with you and why?
I’m torn between two people, but I guess it’s always good to have a team. To me, Josh Nay is one of the most personable guys I’ve worked with at KBS. He has a great personality, a great sense of humor. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do to help you with your job. He just seems like an all-around good guy. I know from working with him that, if you have a problem, he’s the first one to step in there and help you. So, if you’re on a deserted island and need someone to have your back, and at the same time to laugh with you, it’s definitely Josh Nay. My second person is April Shumate. It seems like she’s been on almost every job I’ve done at KBS. Every time I talk to her, she’s always very nice. She always gets her job done and you can depend on her. So, if you’re on a deserted island, you want someone you can depend on to help you, somebody to talk to, I think April would be that person.