Climbing up the crane on the construction site of the Paul G.
Allen Center for Global Animal Health. (Photo by Robert
Hubner, WSU Photo Services)
PULLMAN, Wash. – As he moves dangling slabs of concrete 160 feet up in the air above his co-workers, crane operator Terry Farmer knows his job requires a lot of care and confidence.
He thrives on the responsibility to maintain safety while helping to build the Paul G. Allen Center for Global Animal Health on the Washington State University Pullman campus.
You can’t be scared while up there, said Farmer, of Medical Lake, Wash. You must be confident.
“You have to be good with your hands,” he said. Being carefully repetitious but also able to think quickly allows him to do his job well.
“All of the responsibility falls on my shoulders,” he said. “I take pride in completing my work and knowing I made the right decision.”
Severe winter and spring weather complicated the job, and Farmer credits the crew on the ground for helping him persevere.
“In rain and snow, the only challenge is lack of visibility,” he said. “I have a lot of trust in my guys on the radio. It’s all about trust. They’re my eyes and ears.”
Under clear skies, he can see faraway snow caps and mountain ranges to the southwest. The Palouse is beautiful when you actually can see it, Farmer said with a laugh.
If the view is a perk, loneliness is a drawback.
“Being up here from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. makes me wish I had a person to talk to,” he said.
His work on the building is scheduled to end in the first week of September.
A crane’s-eye view of the work site below. (Photo by crane operator Terry Farmer)