Seeking the Good in a Difficult Good Friday

Today is Good Friday, which is observed around the world. It commemorates Jesus Christ’s sacrifice, his passion, crucifixion, and death. 

Right now, all of us are making sacrifices due to the coronavirus with social distancing and stay-at-home orders.  We’re unable to see our loved ones or take part in traditional observances.

Then there are those who are risking the most important thing – their lives – to take care of us. The first responders, our EMTs, policeman, firemen and medical personnel are on the front lines of this pandemic.  There are also those essential workers who are keeping our lives running: utility, garbage and city workers, those who deliver food, fill our prescriptions and check us out at the grocery store.  

Many jobs have also been sacrificed and savings lost.

All may seem a little bleak now. Perhaps for all of us – even non-believers, this Good Friday is keenly felt. For Christians, Good Friday is a time of sorrow and mourning and reflection.  And aren’t we all feeling that right now? Mourning the loss of our normal lives and routines. Forced into a period of reflection brought on by lives that have shed their everyday anchors, feeling fearful and uncertain…for now.

Just two days from now is the promise of Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. Though things may feel bleak and uncertain now, this crisis will eventually be behind us. There are better days ahead. And the promise of Easter awaits.

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10 Tips for Working from Home

The coronavirus has forced many of us to start working remotely from home. It is an adjustment, particularly if your spouse and kids are there as well. Still, it’s important to keep a work mindset, even when you’re home.  Here’s some tips.

  1. Create a separate workspace.  A counter in the kitchen, the couch or the bed isn’t an ideal work environment. Have a designated workspace with a comfortable chair, a desk at the right height and good lighting.  And preferably one that has a door.
  2. Keep regular hours.  It might be tempting to sleep a little later and work a little later. Stick to your regular schedule. Post your hours for the rest of the house to see.  When the work day is over, it’s over.
  3. Get ready for the day. You may want to stay in your pjs, but act as if you’re going to work.  Take a shower and look presentable, even if you are in more casual clothes. It really affects how you approach your work. Plus, you’ll also be ready for the video conference call later that day.   
  4. Check your bandwidth. Your internet access may not be up to speed, literally, to handling the additional load of everyone at home. Some companies are offering free upgrades during this time. 
  5. Set boundaries. This not only applies to the people you live with, but with your pets as well.
  6. Move – Think about the amount of times you walk to the printer or the office of a colleague at work. You don’t have that at home.  Set a timer to make sure you move around periodically. Use your lunch break to take a walk with your spouse or dog. 
  7.  Embrace technology. Technology has made it easier to meet with your colleagues with Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts. Noise cancelling headphones are also a good investment.
  8. Communicate – Casual water cooler conversation and updates go by the wayside when we’re stuck at home.  Keep bosses and colleagues informed on what you’re working on or challenges you might be facing. That also helps you feel less isolated.    
  9. Take breaks. According to an article in Inc. the most productive people take a 17 minute break every 52 minutes. So if for you it’s an hour with a 15 minute break, set a timer and take that break. That’s also a good time for you to move.  
  10. Minimize distractions. Dogs, children, social media, laundry, news updates. Distractions abound at home.  Shut them out and check back in during those breaks. 

Remember, we’re all in this together. So stay strong, be kind and keep healthy.  

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Coronavirus: Stay Calm and Think of Others

The news about the coronavirus and the mounting numbers of those affected is inescapable and alarming. Schools are closing statewide.  Companies are urging their employees to work from home.  Any event that might draw a crowd of more than 50 has been cancelled and we’re all advised to stay six feet apart. Plus, the worst-case scenario projections of who will eventually contract the illness are terrifying.   

It’s easy and understandable to get caught up in the panic. But by now we should all know the drill about how to best avoid getting sick. 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • For other tips, visit the CDC website

It’s worth repeating that the coronavirus has not and will not be fatal for the vast majority of people. Most of those affected, Tom Hanks among them, stay home and fully recover.  But it is also known that adults over 60 and people with severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes are at higher risk and make up a large percentage of those who have died.  If you are a younger person unconcerned about how the coronavirus could affect you, think about how your presence could affect your uncle, your grandmother or your parents and take precautions.

In some cases, the virus is bringing out the worst in people. But it’s also an opportunity to express our humanity in how we treat the most vulnerable. Instead of stockpiling more items than you and your family can possibly use, ask your elderly neighbor if they need anything and leave some supplies (disinfected first of course) at their front door. 

A recent article in the National Review asks “Will the Coronavirus Change Us?”  Perhaps it will, for the better.

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Gantries Play Essential Role in Mill Stand Installation

Barnhart was hired to install four 27-foot tall mill stands weighing 250,000 pounds apiece and several other components at a manufacturing plant in South Carolina.  The site was still under construction and had a foundation that had different levels and variations.

The crew set up 600-ton gantries and assembled 60 feet of gantry tracks to span the pits. The stands were loaded onto a hydraulic platform trailer and driven into the building at elevation between the gantries.

The mill stands were attached at the top to multipurpose girders and a 200-ton swivel to the outbound gantry and at the bottom to 500-ton inboard gantries. They were upended by retracting the inboard gantries and extending the outboard gantries.

Once fully upended, the entirety of the load was supported on the outbound gantry system. The inboard gantries were retracted and the mill stand was set to anchor bolts. 

Barnhart also installed three gearboxes and two motors, which required breaking down the gantry system and reassembling it at another part of the plant. The components were placed onto a light slide system to be slid under the 600-ton gantries and moved into place. 

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Barnhart was hired to remove and replace a reactor at a chemical plant. The reactor was 11’ diameter and 20’ long and the only access was through the roof. The crew also faced a tight setup area for the crane and a limited staging area.

To gain access, a 14’ X 14’ roof hatch was fabricated by the customer. While the team was building the Liebherr LTM 1400 mobile crane, the new reactor arrived. It was loaded and staged onsite on a Barnhart trailer so it could be moved into position when ready. This saved the customer money, as offloading in the laydown yard would have required remobilizing a crane and truck.

The 500-ton mobile crane had 86’ of main boom with 125’ of luffing jib and 275,500 pounds of counterweight. The reactor weighed 43,000 pounds at 135′ radius for the lift. The team navigated pipe racks and power lines and faced windy conditions. 

It took five days to build the crane, lift material in the building so the structure could receive the new reactor, remove the old and install the new reactor through the hatch and demobilize. The job was completed safely and on schedule.

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Barnhart Expands Midwest Presence with Purchase of Viant Crane

Barnhart has expanded into new territory with the recent acquisition of Viant Crane, adding a company dedicated to safety, reliability and performance.     

With offices in Wisconsin and North Dakota, Viant focuses on clients in the Northland and Midwestern United States, where it works in the commercial, energy, petro-chemical and pipeline business sectors, among others.  The addition of these two branches will add to Barnhart’s Midwest presence which includes existing branches in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Michigan and South Dakota.

Viant provides crane rental, operated crane services and specialty rigging, as well as logistics planning and transport services.   Barnhart will purchase Viant’s rental fleet of industrial and carry deck cranes providing up to 22-ton capacity, rough terrain hydraulic cranes of up to 150-ton capacity, lattice boom crawler cranes of up to 330-ton capacity, as well as a fleet of all terrain/truck cranes ranging in capacity from 50 to 350 tons.

 “The company is an excellent fit for Barnhart,” said David Webster, Barnhart Senior Vice President of Operations.  “Viant’s customers will continue to receive the same quality of service as they have in the past with the added benefit of access to Barnhart’s national network of locations, specialty tools, and a dedicated engineering department.”

As with other Barnhart acquired companies, Viant will keep its name, building on a strong brand that is respected in the marketplace.    

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Holiday Wishes for a Season of Miracles

This holiday season, we took inspiration from the movie classic, Miracle on 34th Street, to create this special Christmas message. Enjoy!

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At a national laboratory in New Mexico, Barnhart was brought in to remove a 460,000-pound rotor and transport it across the state to a rail station in Clovis. 

First, the rotor had to be removed from the stator housing and building using 400-ton gantries and a Goldhofer PSTe 10-Line transport. In the yard, the 69’ long rotor was transloaded to a dual-lane transporter.

Photo Credit: The Albuquerque Journal

The convoy would eventually include two accompanying semi trucks, making a transport system that weighed 700,000 pounds and took up two traffic lanes. That made for a slow pace, as the convoy traveled the 350 miles to Clovis at approximately 25 miles per hour. 

While some of the journey took place on the interstate, about 75 percent was on two-lane state roads. New Mexico state troopers who accompanied the dual lane transporter set up rolling roadblocks, essentially clearing the oncoming lane so that it could pass through.  

At the rail station in Clovis, the rotor was lifted off the transporter and loaded onto a rail car for transport to Virginia.  

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Fostering a Giving Spirit

As Thanksgiving approaches, we have much to be thankful for at Barnhart.  Our 50th anniversary, for one. Who knew that a company that started at a kitchen table with a handful of employees would grow to 45 branches nationwide and 1200 employees? We couldn’t be more grateful for the clients and our team that made it all possible.

We try to foster a giving spirit not only at Thanksgiving, but throughout the year among our employees. Our Barnhart Cares program makes it easier for them to get involved in the local causes that matter the most.

In addition to Community Cares grants to help the underserved in our communities, Barnhart gives each employee funds to donate to the ministry or charity of their choice. For every hour volunteered, we match those funds up to 10 hours per quarter. A majority of Barnhart employees take advantage of the program and give back in a variety of ways.

Here are a few examples:

The Shreveport branch provided Thanksgiving meals for several needy families this season.
The Phoenix branch packed 7776 Manna Meals for Feed My Starving Children, which are donated to FMSC partners around the world.
Members of our Houston branch served the homeless at the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen.

Whatever the activity, our volunteers have learned that when you give of yourself, you get so much more back in return! Or to quote Anne Frank, “No one has ever become poor by giving.”   

Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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Barnhart’s Custom Rigging System Helps Move Vessel

Recently, a crew boat bound for Aruba got a lift from Barnhart.  The boat arrived at the Alabama State Docks where it needed to be moved from the water to an awaiting vessel.

Premier Bulk Stevedoring, the company in charge of the project, reached out to Barnhart to provide specialized rigging for the crew boat, which was 110’ long and weighed 189,377 pounds. It also had an offset center of gravity.

Barnhart’s rigging system assisted in the move of a crew boat at the Alabama State Docks.

Barnhart developed a plan for rigging above the lifting straps. To compensate for the offset CG, they used their adjustable rigging link system (ARLS), which resembles a large bicycle chain that adjusts down to two-inch increments. Custom fabricated 55-ton sling doublers prevented the lifting straps from doubling over on themselves. A configuration of spreader bars and a lattice boom spreader bar completed the rigging plan.

Using the Alabama State Docks’ Gottwald crane, the vessel was successfully lifted out of the water and moved to the vessel bound for Aruba.

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