Press Release: 02.20.2018

Keep Them Safe. Keep Them Happy

crossing guards

Castle traffic control workers set a positive tone with focus on safety.

While they emphasize safety above all else, Castle Contracting employees Danyeal Crittenden and Marjorie Lindsay have definitely livened up the busy intersection in front of the Washington University in St. Louis East End Redevelopment project.

On a recent day there were smiles, waves and hundreds of safe crossings. Since the project began in May 2017, the energetic pair have helped pedestrians navigate the busy sidewalk while also directing traffic for hundreds of dump trucks on their way in and out of the $250 million project.

During peak times early in the project trucks were entering and leaving the site every 60 seconds.

Safety and bringing order to a very busy intersection along Skinker Boulevard is their main concern, so they take their jobs extremely seriously. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a little fun along the way.

construction worker

“We’re having fun because we love what we do,” said Crittenden, whose white hard hat includes stickers from 12 years in the construction industry along with a pretty red flower jutting out the side. “It’s just the different personalities. Some people didn’t speak at first, they didn’t smile and they didn’t look up.” Now it’s like as soon as they cross for Marjorie they’re smiling and waving.

“It just brightens my day.”

Crittenden and Lindsay do a lot of day-brightening themselves.

construction worker

“They’re definitely the face of the project because nobody can really tell what’s going on behind the fences,” said Mike Pranger, Castle Vice President of Operations. “On this job they have an incredibly important role. You can tell by watching them out there that they have their hands full on any given day.”

On this day, the 43-year-old Crittenden broke out a little Michael Jackson “moonwalk” dancing as she helped guide a group through the crosswalk. She also had ready smiles for truck drivers, pedestrians and everyone else who came her way, at one point waving her orange caution flag while singing the Rocky movie theme “Gonna Fly Now,” as another group passed.

construction worker

“The pedestrians love that dancing … you’ll see the students dancing across and also the instructors and pedestrians,” Lindsay said. “They’re really having a good time, outside of everything else we’ve got going on here.”

“We both play a major part out here,” said Crittenden.

Castle is proud of the work being done by the women, who worked together on previous Castle projects. Pranger said both women drew compliments while working on an earlier Castle site prep project at Washington University last summer.

“They have a lot of multi-tasking to do and they have a critical piece of the project - to make sure things don’t go off the rails with traffic and controlling that front gate,” he said. “We had some 105-degree days and they were still bringing the energy and having a good time with what they were doing.”

Georgia Binnington, WashU associate dean in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts, is a huge fan.

“Some days I step outside and look at my car and then decide … no, I will walk,” Binnington said. “That is because I have made friends with Marjorie and Danyeal. We talk every morning, and they are so delightful.

“They worry about me slipping when the street is wet and muddy. Their smiles start my day off with joy. I think they can make a difference for every student who walks by them.”

Crittenden and Lindsay arrive ready to work at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday and are on the job until around 2:15 p.m. The 44-year-old Lindsay enjoys the responsibility that comes with such an important job.

“I’ve always said I’ve been a people person,” said Lindsay, now in her third year working for Castle. “I can deal and communicate with anyone on any level.”

Lindsay said at times, some confused motorists will insist they need to turn at her intersection. She knows they can’t, but tries to be firm while also being understanding.

One Jimmy John’s delivery driver found out the hard way.

“I really don’t mind it if they want to argue, because they can’t get in,” Lindsay said. “We’ll discuss it for a few minutes and then I’ll smile and I’ll still have them make a U-turn. Usually they’re smiling and waving.

“You have to get them on the right track so everything can run smooth. I just take into consideration that if I sent my children to school, someone is watching over them - so I just watch them like a child of mine.”

Pranger didn’t get any favors when it came to entering the job site early in the project.

“Danyeal stopped me in in my tracks and said it wasn’t my turn,” said Pranger, who, despite being recognized, waited patiently while several trucks made their way out of the site. “Then she gave me the head nod and waved me in. I thought that was great. She’s got her marching orders and I got to watch her for 20 seconds of going about the business of doing what she does best.”

How did the dancing and entertaining begin for Crittenden?

“I love dancing and I love music,” she said. “Every day now I think of songs and I tell certain pedestrians. Yesterday it was Madonna and I was telling this guy, so this morning he said, ‘You’ve got me thinking about Madonna all day,’ so I said ‘What about Huey Lewis and the News today?’’’

When it comes to stylin’ and profilin’ Lindsay admits Crittenden is the better dancer.

“Oh yes, because I’m not good at dancing,” said Lindsay, although Crittenden is offering to help a bit in that area. “If I tell her what move I want to bust, she’ll show me how to do it. It’s really cool.”

Crittenden’s dancing magic sometimes rubs off on groups that she helps through the intersection. It happened recently with a group of WashU students, much to her delight.

“I was getting ready to say ‘Let’s have a Soul Train going on,’” she said with a smile. “They’re too young to know about Soul Train.”

Both women talked about the familiar faces they see, names they’ve learned and friends they have made.

“We see some of them every day at the same time,” Crittenden said. “I know what time they’re coming, I know if I haven’t seen them, I know if their hair is straight or they got a haircut. I notice everything.”

Keeping an important owner like Washington University happy is a priority. But as Pranger admits, Crittenden and Lindsay are doing such a good job they have attracted the attention of both current and potential clients.

One of the bigger instances of positive feedback came from a Mercy Hospital executive.

“The fact that we’ve had so many people in the community that travel that street give compliments to them or write emails ... to take time out of their day to do that … they even had to take extra time out to research who to send the emails to,” Pranger said. “It’s good for morale on the site. You’re getting positive feedback instead of what could be a myriad of negative feedback about things that could happen on a construction site.

“It’s the way we like people to see our teams and our folks performing. It also adds a little bit of a human element to what we do, too.” 


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