SINT MAARTEN (CAY HILL) - Over the past weeks Argos has been using media platforms to announce informational sessions. The workshops, facilitated by the National Institute for Professional Advancement (NIPA), took place last week and were well-attended by an assortment of community members interested in learning about concrete from a specialist.
The workshops were geared toward teaching about general concrete properties and behaviour, concrete pavement, mass concrete, curing of concrete, concrete durability and concrete sustainability. Industry partners, contractors, government partners and members of the public were treated to a five-day experience culminating in a practical exam conducted by a member of Argos and certifications were provided.
Christopher C. Ferraro, Ph.D., P.E, FACI, who is an expert in the field of engineering and infrastructure, taught the theory portion of the sessions. Of the workshops Dr. Ferraro said, “We had members of the class who were from different fields in construction industry as well as members of the community with no experience. It was a good turnout, and St. Maarten clearly has a market for building. Along with building it is important to create a solid outline for how it is done with more structure and there is still a lot to learn.”
“This was more of refresher course for me, since I have a degree in civil engineering. But it was very helpful, since there is such a difference between concrete and cement, although many people are unaware of that. I was expecting a basic understanding, but I was pleasantly surprised by how in-depth the course was, and the practical aspect is not something that I experienced before.” – Timothy Baly, an evaluator for the permits department in the Ministry of VROMI.
“My personal experience was primarily based on training in the field, learning from my father and the developers around him. Therefore, I was exposed and interested in the construction industry at a relatively young age. My team consists of professionals with various backgrounds including engineers. We're currently undertaking a large construction project, which involves large quantities of concrete works. As we continue to expand our knowledge and improve our overall execution strategy, I believed that attending this workshop for myself and team members would contribute to that effect. I'm grateful to NIPA and Argos for establishing this training because we learned and refreshed our knowledge of concrete and its application here in Sint Maarten but also in other locations." Norvin Wathey - Director of Commodore N.V., a local construction company that undertakes large-scale projects.
“I first heard of this workshop via Facebook and Instagram. I wanted to join the workshops because I am working on a project for my home, but I’ve been burned by bad contractors before, so I came to learn what I could about building and concrete before I start or hire someone else. I thought it would be a lot of hands-on work, so I was a bit nervous about that, but I was happy that it was more ninety percent theory and the other ten percent was practical. It was very clear and easy to understand, and the whole time I was taking notes and communicating with a friend of mine who is in construction.” Sean Joseph, an individual member of the public with no construction background.
“This course was really great for me, because I have a fairly new company. We started up soon after Irma and I want to know as much as I can about building and concrete. I got my start installing rooves, but that wasn’t concrete, it was mare work with wood and galvanize. This workshop was more than I could have imagined, and I can’t wait to take this new information and apply it to how I operate my business.” Kerry Wilson, a contractor and owner of Vertical 360, a general construction and waste management company.
“These workshops we organized with NIPA are just the beginning of a series of trainings for specific topics we consider will impact positively the construction industry in our island. I’m very happy with the participation of different stakeholders and I hope they will become agents of change with the knowledge they’ve got to improve construction practices at their own levels. This was a great opportunity to share ideas and proved that more education and networking are required in the field of construction. Therefore, we are committed to work hard to go further by adding value through outstanding solutions, innovative products, and promoting conversations that will help building back better.” Dr. Edgar Martinez – General Director of Argos Antilles.