Impact Player

On and Off the Clock, Lewis Robinson Is Making a Difference

When Lewis Robinson began Construction Ready’s Pre-Apprenticeship training, he was no rookie in the world of skilled labor. Having worked jobs that included mold and lead remediation, he knew his way around a toolbox. But he soon discovered the humbling truth in the phrase, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”

For Lewis, the training meant “getting reeducated, getting more familiarized with it than I ever had been,” he recalls. “Some of the terminology I was using was wrong. Some of the ways of doing things that I thought were absolutely right [turned out to be] absolutely wrong. I was like, ‘Man, that hurt,’ but it was true.”

His willingness to learn – along with an impressive work ethic – helped Lewis stand out when Pellicano Construction vetted job candidates from his class, Albany Group 3, which was hosted by Goodwill Industries of the Southern Rivers in May 2023. Now, more than a year into his tenure with Pellicano, he continues to succeed wherever the company sends him.

“Lewis has done a great job for us since graduating and coming on board,” says Meridith Holland, Pellicano’s Vice President of Corporate Development and Strategic Growth. “On any given day he could be mudding and doing drywall, or he could be painting, or he could be helping form up the beginnings of a wall. Our team loves him and has grown to rely on him. He’s one of those impact players we can put with anybody. He rolls up his sleeves and goes to work.”

Lewis learned about Construction Ready through a fortuitous visit to Goodwill’s Albany Career and Training Center. He had been seeking a new job when a friend told him about a possible opening with a painting company. He picks up the story there:

“I went to talk to them and they were like, ‘Well, you have to go to a staffing place.’ So I called the staffing place and they said, ‘Go to Goodwill and get a resume made and come back and see us.’ So I went to Goodwill and talked to Miss Amanda [Walker, Job Development Coordinator], and she said, ‘Well, we can do your resume, no problem, but have you ever heard of this?’ and she mentioned Construction Ready. She said, ‘Would you be interested?’ and I said, ‘Absolutely.’ I took three tests that afternoon, passed them all, and they gave me a date to come back, and here we are.”

Lewis appreciated the training program’s no-nonsense atmosphere and structure.

“It was clear what they expected of you,” he remembers. “If you don’t want to learn, don’t be in the program. If you can’t abide by the rules, don’t be in the program. It’s a great way to teach people about getting ready to go into the job scene.

“Mr. [Andy] Mills was a great teacher,” he continues. “[He teaches that] it’s not just the work, it’s the mindset. ‘Are you going to be ready to do this? It’s going to be hot outside. It’s going to be this, it’s going to be that. How are you going to handle it?’”

Pellicano assigned Lewis to a “Special Teams” role in which, as Holland described, he could be doing any number of jobs on a given day. He’s taken on increasing levels of responsibility as he’s gained experience on projects around southwest Georgia, such as a remodel of the MRI unit at Americus’ Phoebe Sumter Medical Center and a conversion of the ICU at Thomasville’s Archbold Hospital to a Labor and Delivery facility.

“I can see what I’m doing,” Lewis says. “I can see something I started, I can see something I finished. Every time I pass by, I can say, ‘I built that. I did that part over there.’”

At Pellicano, Lewis has found not only job satisfaction, but an appreciation of the company culture as well.

“The people I work with are great,” he says. “Pellicano always says they’re a family operation, and they are. They really take care of their people. They want to know how you’re doing. It’s not just, ‘Hey Bob, how you doing? OK, go over here and do that.’ It’s actually, ‘How you doing? Do you need anything? Are you doing alright?’”

Lewis took an interest in the younger members of his Construction Ready class, and when he meets people around the Albany community, he’ll encourage them to consider the fully funded, four-week training as a worthwhile career boost.

“There were a lot of young kids in my class, and I tried to help any way I could,” he remembers. “If they didn’t understand something, I would try share what I knew, as well help them stay focused on homework or whatever it is that we had to do.

“It was a life-changing experience. I’ve told several young people about the program in Albany at the Goodwill Career Center. I say, ‘Hey man, get off the streets. Put that quick-money dream down and get into something that’s real. Get into something hands-on and you will appreciate it and value it a lot more than what you value in the streets.”

With a revitalized career in place, Lewis has a clear vision of where he wants to take it. He can see the title now: Lewis Robinson, Superintendent.

“I would like to be a superintendent,” he explains. “I would like to have people I could show the ropes to – people who are young and hungry and want to do something.”

If that happens, it’s a good bet Lewis’ enthusiasm will be contagious. He genuinely enjoys his work, and he wants to bring others along with him.

“I love this job, period,” he says. “I really do.”

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