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Annie Tooley

Kurt Filippelli


Q: What was your official job title, and what were the typical daily responsibilities of your role at MILBURN?

A: I was a foreman at Milburn. My role always started with safety. That was always my top responsibility, and then production was a close second. I helped organize projects, keep an eye on our people in the field, line up subcontractors, schedule upcoming projects, and basically just come up with a plan of attack for how we would complete the project.

Q: What were you doing in your career before you came to MILBURN?

A: I did road construction briefly for a couple of years, but I got into the demolition industry pretty quickly. I worked in demo for another Chicagoland demolition company for 19 years. I had known Don Collier for years, and after speaking with him one day, I decided to go over to Milburn. That was in 2016, and I’d been there ever since.

Q: What did you enjoy about being a foreman? What made you excited to go to work every day?

A: Every day was a different story, with different tasks and different obstacles. It was about as far from reporting to a desk every day as you could get. There was such a variety of challenges.

I may have thought I knew it all, but then every time you opened up another structure, you were always finding new surprises because no two buildings were put together the same way. I enjoyed seeing how structures were put together and trying to figure out the best way to tackle each job. It was a different atmosphere with new tasks every day.

My favorite part of being a foreman was that some of the more intricate or tricky jobs made me use my mind more than breaking my back. Those jobs were really rewarding. I loved taking on difficult projects and helping drive them to a positive outcome. I was very proud of the lasting effect my work had on the community.

Q: Compared to your previous 19 years in the demolition industry, what made MILBURN different?

A: With the group of people we had at MILBURN, it truly was a family environment. If someone had some hardship in their personal or family lives, or they needed help with a fundraiser, we all pulled together to help that individual out.

Being part of such a tightly knit group was cool. I’d been doing this for a while, and to be honest, you often saw your co-workers more than you saw your family members. I spent 40 hours a week with these guys, so the fact that we all genuinely liked each other was great.

Q: What was your life like outside of work? How did you spend your time?

A: I was married and had three boys. I spent the majority of my time at sporting events with them. They were into just about everything—they played baseball, football, and lacrosse. I’d been traveling with their lacrosse teams to the east coast and to Vegas. One of my main pleasures was just watching them play sports and helping coach their teams. Being a part of that with them was very important to me.

Being a foreman takes guts—and a few years of experience in the field. Find out how you can become a foreman in the Dirt World.

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