I sometimes ask myself why do some enterprises last and others just survive for a season. Is it key personnel? Is it expertise? Is it timing? Perhaps it is a combination of these and other factors that combine to form a business culture that becomes an identity that gives rise to a reputation that sustains the organization. Companies sometimes start businesses that their offspring continue but often the continuity of these companies is dependent on the loyalty of their best employees.
In architecture it is not that different. Gillespie and Steel has been in operation for over 40 years and during that time many people have come and gone. Those who stayed for some time have helped to shape the image of the company. While the architects might be considered the face of the company there are several in the engine room who have given yeoman service to keep the wheels turning and the well oiled engine running. This blog is a tribute to them.
This 1985 photo shows the staff of Gillespie and Steel. Vincent Greenidge is still a full time member of staff. Clive Bullard served Gillespie and Steel for over 30 years.
Over 25 years:
Vincent Greenidge, Arthur Giles and Rudolph Sealy have been associated with Gillespie and Steel for over 25 years. They began in the era of hand drawings, blue prints, T-squares, parallel lines and razor blades. Drafting was very much an art and though the aim was to make the drawings uniform each draftsman’s had his own distinctive style.
They saw the transition from hand drawings to computers and have continued to hone their craft mastering both 2D and 3D computer aided design. The photograph below shows Arthur on the left at one of the early computers with architect David Spink looking on and Vincent at the drawing board.
Vincent, Arthur and Rudy have helped to nurture many in the field who have passed through the office and those who have stayed. Indeed they have bolstered the development of both technicians and architects. They have worked on such projects as Oistins Fishing Complex, the Samuel Jackson Prescod Polytechnic, Barbados Light and Power Restoration, the early and final designs of the Judicial Centre, Flower Forest, the Elsie Payne Complex, the Government Buildings and Governor’s Residence in Montserrat. St. Gabriel’s School, Tyrol Cot and many others.
Over 16 years:
Shane Jones, Gregory Lowe and Dawn Hinkson have been at Gillespie and Steel for over 15 years. Shane and Greg worked with Luke Architecture Inc. and joined the office when the two companies merged in 2000 while Dawn joined that year just months after the merger. They all arrived in the computer age when the drafting office would have been fully computerized. They thrive in the 2D and 3D CAD environment and have worked in both the interiors and architectural sectors contributing to projects like Bayshore, Barbados Academy of Golf at Balls, Barbados City of Bridgetown Co-operative Credit Union, the Judicial Centre, Marina Village, Marigot Bay St. Lucia, Harrisons Cave Redevelopment.
All of our technicians are reliable, loyal and hard working they help to make the architects designs become reality. These technicians are committed to their craft and have all continued their education both formally and informally - on and away from the job. While there have been others to who graced the engine room each one of these staff members mentioned above has contributed over 16 years of service to Gillespie and Steel and while they may not all be the face of the company it would be very difficult for the company to function without them. With this calibre of staff Gillespie and Steel has been able to stay at the forefront of architecture and design for the past 40 years.