Editorial: 06.03.2019

Roy Hardester Guides Overnight Repair at Ladue Middle School

Roy Hardester

A recent water main break at Ladue Middle School sent Castle Field Manager Roy Hardester’s Monday evening into extra innings. He was relaxing at his daughter’s softball practice when Hardester received an unexpected text message from Castle Business Development Director Aaron Retherford alerting him of the issue.

Before the next pitch even crossed the plate, Hardester was on the phone with Ladue Schools Facilities Director Mike Noonan to learn more about the situation.

“We had worked with Mike previously, so I had his number in my phone and decided to call him directly to find out more about the problem,” says Hardester. “After I hung up with him, I immediately called our go-to guys that I always call in those scenarios, and everything just started falling into place.”

He ordered equipment, lighting and utility locates, then hopped into his truck to head to the school — less than 20 minutes after receiving the original text.

When he arrived at the site, Hardester learned the school district had cancelled school for the following day, but he and the Castle crew decided to dig in immediately to minimize the time the school would be out of service.

Working through the night, the team was nearing the finish line when a second leak unexpectedly extended the assignment.

“At about 5 a.m., we had the first leak repaired and were pressurizing the line when it gave way in another spot,” Hardester recalls. “So we had to dig more up and keep working through the day.”

He called in some additional colleagues to complete the repair so the original crew could go home and get some rest.

By about 1 p.m., the water was back on and the Castle team began flushing out the lines to the school’s sinks, toilets and other equipment to ensure everything was ready for the students to return the following day.

“Had we not started on the job that night, I think they would’ve had to miss another day of school,” says Hardester, who worked on the project for about 18 consecutive hours.

Managing emergency issues is nothing new for Hardester, who joined Castle in 2009 as a laborer and served as a foreman and superintendent before assuming his current role as field manager about four years ago.

“When I was a laborer, I went out on numerous water main breaks, so I know the types of fittings, equipment and everything we need to do the job,” he says. “It can be a stressful scenario, but I enjoy the challenge of making things happen. At Castle, we’re always thinking on the fly, so this kind of work goes right with what we do every day.”

Hardester believes urgent projects like this are important opportunities to demonstrate exceptional client service.

“Mike Noonan wanted to hand this over and know that it was going to be taken care of, and that’s exactly what we did — jump in, take the bull by the horns and fix the problem,” he says.

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