Myrtle Beach construction superintendent is the meat and potatoes of building projects

For Weekly SurgeFebruary 25, 2014 

Jesse Liette on a job site. Photo by Brenda Holderfield

Jesse Liette, 30, is the glue that holds everything together. A superintendent with Consensus Construction & Consulting Inc., he’s knee deep in a project that involves extensive renovation at Yamato Japanese steakhouse at Broadway at the Beach.

Originally from Tucson, Ariz., Liette also spent 16 years in Northern California’s Bay Area before heading to the Grand Strand. He lived in both North Myrtle and Myrtle Beach before moving to what many call UCLA (Upper Conway-Lower Aynor) – and he’s right there. “I live at the Conway/Aynor border on the Conway side – a quarter mile from [S.C.] 22,” he says.

While in California, Liette worked for awhile as a certified massage therapist, but focused on construction when he moved here. While working a side job, he found out that Consensus was in need of someone with what he calls good, skilled labor. The upshot is that Liette was brought on board, and went to work just before construction began at Banditos Restaurant and Cantina on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk.

“We pretty much surveyed the land and did site work from the ground up,” he says.

It’s crunch time at Yamato, and as superintendent, Liette oversees a dizzying array of people and tasks - all pieces of the puzzle. “I am responsible for all subcontractors, with department heads reporting to me to make sure that their scope of work is fulfilled and that they meet their deadlines so I have all of my inspections on time.”

It is not unusual for Liette and his crews to put in between 60-80 hours or more per workweek on projects like this, and we can see why. “I have to make sure my plumber is getting done with the gas line and PVC – my electrician gets lights in – my finish guy has FRP [a fire resistant substance called fiber-reinforced polymer] on the kitchen walls and has the ceiling grid up.” There are also roofers, siding guys and painters. “I have got a lot of trades to get in there still.” Local companies such as Coastal Commercial Roofing and Coastline Electric are on this project as subcontractors.

Liette is up at 5 a.m. daily. “I get up, make coffee and get on the road by 6:10,” he says, and is at work by 6:30 a.m., working on his lists for the day. “We start getting materials delivered, and I am making phone calls. All of my subs need to be onsite by 8 a.m. I just start running down the list.”

Recently, his mechanical guys made a sign for him that reads: “Caution: Jesse at Work.”

“They put some time into it and they were creative with it,” he says. “They borrowed the paint from me to make the sign, which was the kicker. I ended up finding out what the yellow paint was for.”

While he was on the Banditos project, Liette earned the nickname “Meat & Potatoes” as a testament to his work ethic, and it stuck. He says he takes lunch at 2 p.m. if he’s lucky. “If I get home at eight or nine, it’s time to unwind and get ready for 5 a.m. again. We do whatever it takes.”

He makes it to the beach a couple times a year.

“I don’t get to it near as much as I’d like to,” he says, but adds that he is into other modes of decompression such as riding his dirt bike, building bonfires or playing his drums. “I’m always building something – doing something – working on old hot rods. I stay busy.” He cites King Kong Sushi as a favorite eatery.

Liette says he doesn’t have any major plans to leave the area. He has family here, including an aunt, uncle, grandmother and cousin.

“My house will be paid off pretty soon. If work calls, I’ll go wherever it takes to stay with the money. I have enough dependable vehicles and trailers to get all of my tools to a different state and work there for a month at a time, like the guys from Charlotte (N.C.) came down here to work for three months straight, renting hotel rooms. You do what you’ve got to do.”

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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