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The Golden Gate Bridge opened on May 27,1937. In 2012, the bridge celebrated its 75th year. Found in San Francisco Bay, California, it's one of the most recognized landmarks in the world.
Dennis(Rocky) Dellarocca shares his career choice-paint superintendent at the Golden Gate Bridge.
How did you get interested in working at the Golden Gate Bridge?
I've never been afraid of heights. I liked climbing trees as a kid. I also liked working outdoors. I started working at the bridge about 28 years ago.Early jobs at the bridge(and the Bay Bridge) included doing maintenance and being a tow truck driver. I decided to become a painter. The program is about 2-3 years after which I became what is called a journeyman. As a painter, I've been up to the top of towers of the Golden Gate Bridge- 750 ft. high!
What is the best part of your career choice?
I'd say the best part of my job is seeing the views-you can see a long way, sights around the bay such as the big ships coming into the harbor, the marine life such as whales and porpoises. It's just great taking in the beauty of it all. I also enjoy taking care of something very special. Many people come to see the Golden Gate Bridge each year and I also enjoy meeting the people that come to see the "People's Bridge".
What would be a negative aspect of your career choice?
The physical part of the job is very demanding.Dealing with paints, chemicals, the weather(cold and the wind) and having to wear respirators or blasting hoods when repairing the bridge.
Describe your average day.
As Paint Superintendent,since 1997, I am in charge of the paint department of the bridge and its surrounding areas. I supervise 40 people and meet with the painting crews to see what they will be doing. I go out to the bridge to check out the jobs. There is administrative work including equipment and supply ordering as well as paperwork doing payrolls. Did you know that the Golden Gate Bridge has its very own color? It's called Golden Gate Bridge International Orange and we use between 5000-10,000 gallons of the paint each year!
What kinds of safety precautions are needed to be a painter on the Golden Gate Bridge?
You must wear a full body harness, carry a radio and work with another partner. It is important to take your time and be mindful of the dangerous job you are doing. Nearly 70 percent of the time, the bridge is covered in fog from the bay. And, the winds, can blow at 60 mph.It's a very physical and demanding job.It's also a very important job. Paint protects the bridge from the salt air and the start of rust that can erode the steel.
Anything you'd like to share about "your"bridge?
Taking care of the Golden Gate Bridge is an on going effort. The bridge is 1.7 miles long and it is constantly being checked for any corrosion that needs repairing. Painting goes on all year long.
Did you know?