Employee Spotlight: Toby Curtis

Posted by Ken Brakefield

Topics: Employees, Structural Steel Fabrication

Toby Kurtis Swanton Welding

A key role is understanding what the customer wants from start to finish is the project manager. The project manager communicates all the needs from the customer’s vision to the shop floor, and then to final delivery. Understanding the complex nature of metal fabrication takes years of experience. Toby Curtis, a Swanton Welding project manager, has this experience and knowledge based off his 23 year career as a Swanton Welding employee. He works with Swanton clients once their fabrication project moves from the estimating department into production.

Putting It All Together

Toby helps Swanton customers with detailing, if needed, on their project. Managing timelines and materials, he makes sure the correct materials are ordered and in house before production begins on the project making sure that as other projects move out, the next project is ready and on deck.

He also serves as a main point of contact for our clients during the entire process, answering any questions and providing updates on timelines and delivery schedules. Once the piece is finished, Toby works with the clients to make sure that delivery is seamless for our clients and that it’s delivered on time.

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 Career Growth and History

A veteran employee, Toby has been with Swanton since the early 1990’s.He started at Swanton on the floor, working on various projects and worked his way up through the ranks. As he gained more experience, he moved into various roles throughout the shops.

In 2014, structural projects began to take over much of the shop floor. Swanton decided to hire and train a new “Structural Shop Team”, of greener and younger members, to help them gain experience and help mold them into expert fabricators. Toby was a part of the team that coached and mentored this new workforce and helped create Swanton’s highly successful structural steel division.

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While he’s not intimately involved in the fabrication process anymore, he believes Swanton’s fabrication teams are the best in the business. They come early and leave tired and dirty every day. The Swanton guys in the shop put their heart and soul into every piece they fabricate.

Swanton Welding operates with a very skilled and veteran team of fabricators, not really relying on a lot of automation.  Swanton crews, Toby believes, understand the fundamentals of fabrication and possess the rare ability to solve problems that automation and machines cannot.  Looking at job shops like Swanton Welding today as compared to 50 years ago, technology has had little impact in the shop making experienced fabricators valuable. This job is 10% knowledge and 90% experience.

There’s No Playbook

One of his mentors, throughout his time at Swanton was Big Norm.  Big Norm taught Toby that no matter what you’re doing, something’s gotta work.  You have to keep trying until it works.  Never give up.  It’s a big attribute in fabrication.  There is no text book or play by play to follow.  Each project is different and presents unique challenges for Toby to solve and use his skills as a former fabricator and current project manager.

When Toby isn’t at Swanton Welding, he enjoys spending time with his family.  During the warmer months, he looks forward to spending time at the lake with his family. A true outdoorsman, he enjoys fishing and duck hunting, but really anytime he can be active in the great outdoors he appreciates.

Swanton Welding is proud to have Toby Curtis as part of our team.  His attention to detail sets up our fabrication and paint shop teams for success by having everything in place and ready for when they begin a customer’s project.  We thank you for the unwavering support of your fellow co-workers and the lessons you’ve passed down as you’ve mentored our staff.

Topics: Employees, Structural Steel Fabrication