Maintaining in Myrtle Beach is his mission

For Weekly SurgeJanuary 16, 2014 

Tyler Caldwell. Courtesy photo.

Tyler Caldwell, 27, moved to the Grand Strand from Spartanburg with his parents when he was four, and says he was just along for the ride. True – he had no choice at that age. His mom was working at the post office and came here for a better position and his dad went to school for electrical and HVAC here.

Twenty years ago, his father worked for Dayton House Resort [www.daytonhouse.com], and things came full circle three years ago when Caldwell took a job in maintenance at the ocean-front resort. “The guy who is my boss now worked with my father as a regular daytime worker,” he says. “My dad met up with him one day said, ‘hey – my son really needs a job,’ and I went the next day and got hired.”

“I do all-around maintenance,” he says. “Really whatever they tell me to do.” This runs the gamut from painting walls, rooms – moving furniture, removing carpet – and some electrical and plumbing work. Most of this is done on first shift. “I basically take care of everything – doing any calls that come up.” He regularly works a 48-hour week.

Caldwell says the work vibe is upbeat. “Everyone is joking all of the time, and they don’t really make it too hard on you. This makes it easier for me to get into it and learn things.” He says the most challenging for him was learning about electrical work and plumbing, the majority of which is done in-house. “At first I thought I was going to be there to make sure nothing went wrong, but I actually had to learn craftsman skills – and we learn as it happens.”

When we talked with Caldwell, he was nicely splattered with white paint. “We have been painting balconies and hallways – and I got stuck being the guy painting all of the ceilings – so I got all of the back-splatter.”

Because Dayton House is booked to capacity during the main tourist season, the winter months are the time for ramping up renovation work. “Most people think the off-season is dead and people have nothing to do – but that’s when we do the majority of the work. We are constantly trying to update to the newest things, like all flat screen TVs – as much as we can during the time we have available, because once the season hits, too many people are coming in and out,” he says. We mentioned to Caldwell that this must be like painting the Golden Gate Bridge – as soon as you get to the end you have to start all over again on the other side.

He is also a musician. “It’s cliché to say it, but music has always been a passion. I have always been in and out of it since I was 16 – when I first started going to see bands.” His musical tastes are varied – and he is all over the map with that. “If it sounds good, it sounds good,” he says. “It could be as underground as it gets or as overplayed on the radio as possible.” He recently drove to Chapel Hill, N.C. to see Cruel Hand, a hardcore punk band from Portland, Maine. “I didn’t really have the money to do it, but I went anyway – three-and-a-half hours there and back just to go hang out for like an hour.”

Many folks might not have been around Myrtle Beach long enough to remember bygone music venues such as The Limelight, The Lazy I or The Social – but Caldwell went to them all. “They were all pretty much run by the same person, Michael Wood.”

But how has the music scene changed here over the years?

“I would say that people aren’t as open minded about it as it used to be,” he says. “They want to hear what they want to hear, if not, they don’t go. It used to be something to do – and you just went to check it out.” He is in the process of figuring out how to obtain a grant in order to open up his own venue.

But close to his heart is his idea for a youth center – and he is looking into legalities for this, too. “I want to make it kind of like counseling and tutoring – anything that can actually help the youth,” he says. He sees this as a hangout – a positive option in an ocean of negative temptations such as drugs or alcohol. “It’s like, ‘hey,” I can come here and hang out with people or maybe meet somebody who wants to start a band – or play a video game or something.’” He doesn’t see himself as a mentor, nor would he want to. “I’d want to help the youth learn how to mentor themselves so they don’t have to rely on others when they could be going through things themselves.”

Know of a local with an interesting job or career that should be given the Working 4 A Living treatment? Contact Roger Yale at rgyale@gmail.com.

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