A Day in the Life: Meet Marvin Allen

“What would I say to someone looking to join the construction industry? You’ll be making the best
decision of your life,” says San Francisco resident, Marvin Allen.

“As a Journeyman Laborer for Malcolm Drilling on the Headworks Facility Project, I’m working with the cages that are going into the ground for the foundation,” he explained, “Which, especially on a project of this magnitude, once the project is finished, I’m proud to be able to stand back and say, ‘I did that!’”

“Marvin is dedicated, committed, dependable, humble and reliable with a positive attitude,” SFPUC
Labor Relations Specialist Brian Thomas says. “Sometimes all you need is someone to give you an
opportunity to display your talent, skill level and professionalism. Contractors recognize a good,
hard worker with a positive attitude, who’s dedicated to his craft.”

Training is Just the First Step

Allen enrolled in an eight-week construction pre-apprentice program on Treasure Island, called
“One Treasure Island Construction Training Program”, which includes a two-week Job Readiness
Training module, and offers hands-on training and instruction in the building and construction

“I learned about abatement, lead removal, CPR, traffic controlling, OSHA 10. It prepared me to get
to the point where I am today,” Allen reflected. “Programs are six weeks, eight weeks, and sixteen
weeks. If you can just put that time aside to go through the programs and learn what they can
teach you, you can be out here, like I am, on the site, making good money. I am doing it and it
works,” he says with confidence.

After graduating the program, Allen joined Laborers’ Local 67, the local union for asbestos, lead
and mold remediation laborers. He was hired to perform remediation work on Treasure Island and the Chase Center, home of the Warriors’ new arena. As an apprentice laborer, Allen credits his success to the apprenticeship’s “on-the-job” training, a real-world experience that allows him and other apprentices to earn a living wage while they are learning a skilled trade.

After gaining additional work experience, Allen asked Thomas for advice on making a transition to Laborers’ Local 261, the local union for general construction laborers in San Francisco. Upon joining the Local 261, Allen was hired onto the Malcolm Drilling team. “Working here allows me to take care of my financial responsibilities, and it’s setting me up for the process of buying my first house,” Allen shares as one of his new goals.

Building a Career and a Foundation for the Future

Malcolm Drilling is installing 600 seismically sound piers for the new Headworks Facility’s foundation. To ensure this large-scale project is providing opportunities to local residents and meeting local hire requirements, Thomas worked with Malcolm Drilling’s Superintendent, Troy Meyers.

“It’s anyone. Whether it’s a friend of one of my guys, I will interview anyone. At the interview, no one can hold your hand,” Meyers explains. With over 30 years of experience, starting as a cement mason back in 1991, Meyers says he can usually tell from the interview if the person will work out. “It’s called communication,” Meyers states as a matter of fact.

“Allen worked out because he shows up on time, works hard and can be counted on”, states Thomas. He is proud to have contributed to historic projects like building the Chase Center and the city’s large-scale projects needed to upgrade and modernize its critical infrastructure, such as the SFPUC’s Southeast Treatment Plant.

For Allen, the work is only part of the gratification. Becoming a person he is proud to be, and encouraging others to do the same by joining a trade, is another way Allen contributes to his community.

“Working here means a lot. It means the world to me, it’s my livelihood. But my greatest success was to know that I could be counted on,” Allen explained. “That changed me forever. Now I know my self-worth and have a new sense of respect for myself and others.”

The SFPUC is committed to supporting the communities impacted by its operations. As the agency invests in its infrastructure, it is also investing in local, underserved communities by connecting youth and adults with learning, apprenticeship, job training, employment, and business opportunities. These programs support a strong, inclusive, local economy and a skilled, diverse, local workforce for today and tomorrow. Marvin Allen is one of the many individuals the SFPUC has been able to assist and the agency is proud to share his story.