Blaine Green, Division Manager of Monolithic Equipment Manufacturing, Retires
May 22, 2007
Last Friday was a sad day at Monolithic. After a noteworthy career of nearly 15 years, it was Blaine's last day.
During the office retirement party everyone smiled – of course. But we were sad. I think David South, our company president, expressed it well. He said, “I'm going to really miss Blaine. You could talk to him. He made a big difference at Monolithic and a big piece of who and what we are is leaving with him.”
Four years ago, Monolithic wanted an article about Blaine for this website, so I interviewed him. Here's an updated version of what he told me and I wrote then:
Blaine Green Turns Monolithic Ideas Into Reality
Blaine claims that Monolithic's president, David South, "is one of those thinkers -- an idea guy -- always ahead of the game."
But while David may be the "idea guy," Blaine was the guy who helped turn those ideas into reality. That reality included mixers, pumps, scaffolding and a variety of other items designed to help the dome builder work faster and better.
Blaine's association with Monolithic spans many years. He said, "David and I have known each other for a long time. We were neighbors in Idaho. David lived on the south side of the south butte, I lived on the west side of the north butte, and we went to church together."
Back then, Blaine ran a sewing factory. One day, David asked Blaine to make a zippered, padded bag of a specific size in which David could carry a projector. Blaine said, "I never saw the projector, but David said it fit. That's the kind of relationship we've had for years. If there was something David couldn't find anywhere, he'd come and ask me to make it for him -- which I always did."
During the winter of 1988, Blaine and Irma, his wife, got very tired of Idaho's cold weather and decided to move south. With no definite destination in mind, they sold everything they didn't want to move, packed up seven of their children and started out. Blaine said, "We got to Texas and we liked it."
They decided to stay and bought a small farmhouse painted a color that Irma hated. "So I told her to paint it till you like it, and she did," Blaine said. "That was a wonderful time -- one of the best experiences we ever had."
Sometime after the Greens moved to Texas, David South moved to Italy, Texas and established Monolithic's headquarters. "We had stayed in touch," Blaine said, "so David came looking for me, and I began working for Monolithic."
In the early 1990s, based on David's ideas, Blaine began inventing. "These were equipment ideas, all related to domes and dome construction," Blaine said.
He recalled one of his earliest projects: "We were making portable buildings, 16 to 18 feet in diameter. Well, if it's portable, you have to have some way to pick it up and put it on a trailer. The crane worked great, but you only have the crane on the loading end. So how do you unload? We built special jacks to take care of that problem. The jacks lift the dome, we back the trailer under it, set the dome on the trailer, load the jacks, deliver the dome, put the jacks back under the dome, lift it up, set the dome down in place and leave."
Blaine said that every project began as a problem, that led to an idea, that eventually evolved into a problem-solving piece of equipment. He cited this example.
Problem:Reaching the upper portions of a dome when spraying foam or Shotcrete or hanging rebar usually means using a scaffold. But climbing down to reposition a stationary scaffold is both tiring and time consuming.
Idea: A scaffold that can be moved without climbing down.
Equipment: The Monolithic -- a scaffold with a center pivot and a trolley car. Blaine said, "The worker can be at the top, in the trolley car, and doesn't have to come down to move the scaffold when it needs to be moved. The Monolithic operates with three hydraulic units: the first to move the trolley car, the second to raise and lower the bucket, and the third to rotate it.
"When it was just new," Blaine continued, "some of the workers didn't want to use it. But once they began using it, they loved it. That trolley car put them anywhere in the dome that they needed to be, and the work went much faster."
Following that same process, Blaine has designed and built both gas- and electric-powered concrete pumps, mixers, trailers, and an airlock kit. He said, "We might have had certain components made off site, but we put things together here, on site. We did all the assembly. It was the only way to be sure everything went together right."
Asked if he and/or David ever came up with a non-workable idea, Blaine said, "Let's put it this way. We've come up with a few things that we could not use, so we changed the design entirely and made them usable. It's interesting to realize what you can do over a period of time. That's what made it fun out here!"
David thinks of Blaine as “a friend and confidant and a good, social member of our society. He was branch president of his church for several years. He's a good father of 12, and in our society that's saying something. And he's now taking a deserved rest, going to do some touring and then some volunteer work. We wish him well.”
Although he tried his best to keep smiling, Blaine too was sad about leaving. He told me that he and Irma were looking forward to his retirement but that he would definitely miss the people, the projects and the challenges at Monolithic.
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