LOCATION: Kansas City, MO
I have been pouring concrete walls since 1994, in all types of weather conditions: heat waves, downpours, snowstorms, even the occasional nice day.
Listen to Marcus McIntire
I don't know many people who make a career out of concrete, because this is dirty, physically demanding and often thankless work. But I take great pride in it. I like using my hands and seeing such tangible results. And similar to the Roman aqueducts, the concrete I pour will be around for thousands of years, so this is my way of leaving a permanent mark on the world.
I'm proud of the fact that this is my 25th year working for the same concrete company in a trade that experiences very high turnover. In fact, I'm one of just three of 60 employees who've been here five years or more.
When I was starting out, I would buy the cheapest work boots I could find, but it cost my feet plenty. They got pruned from being wet and muddy. They got cold walking through snow and ice. My choice of poor footwear was also causing a variety of foot, knee and back problems.
Around 1999, I bought my first pair of Red Wings. When I first tried them on in the store, I remember how comfortable they felt and how I didn't even know such high-quality boots existed. They had everything needed to protect my feet from the Missouri elements. And I'm not sure if this is a coincidence, but my foot, back and knee problems disappeared. I haven't bought another brand-or even style-of boot since.
This is not a glamorous job. I will not receive fame or fortune from it. But the pride I feel in getting up every day to do good work and provide for my family is more than enough to keep me going. And as a foreman, I also find meaning in showing the up-and-comers how to work smart and realize their potential.