Associate Spotlight: Butch Rudduck
Franklin “Butch” Rudduck was 17 years old when he first picked up a mason’s trowel. By the time he was 19, he was laying brick full-time for the residential market.
That was 58 years ago. In the span of nearly six decades, Butch has worked on hundreds of construction projects. He has built everything from elementary schools and libraries to multifamily towers and active senior housing. He doesn’t have a favorite project because he takes pride in every single one of them.
“It’s something you will always have. You can drive past a building with your grandkids and show them where you worked and take pride in that,” Butch said.
Butch joined Miller Valentine Construction 30 years ago. He continued to do masonry and formwork until he was made superintendent. He has built structures in multiple states, including Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. And he has worked on many high-profile projects, including Trillium Place, a 260,000-square-foot active adult community in Columbus, Ohio.
Every role and every project has presented an opportunity to learn and perfect his craft.
“The best advice I ever received was to learn to the best of your ability. Learn to do it right and make sure it looks good,” Butch said. “I was raised to do it right by my dad. He said everybody will appreciate you if you do it the right way instead of just doing it to get it done.”
When he first started in the industry, technology consisted of a telephone in an office. Today, much of the equipment is computerized. Digital files have replaced rolls of construction documents and binders of paper. Project schedules move faster than ever. While Butch feels the digital era has passed him by — “I’m old school,” he explained — his knowledge and expertise are something that can’t be easily replicated by software or a device.
“He’s a wealth of knowledge,” said Kenny Frei, Construction Manager. “He’s done it all, he’s been there, you can ask him anything, and he always has a good attitude.”
These days, Butch is thinking about retirement, but it’s a tough call to make. He has changed his retirement date six times. The people he works with are one of the reasons why. “I’ve been in construction 58 years,” he added. “How do you give that up?” To help ease his transition, Butch joined Kenny Frei at Miller Valentine’s yard, assisting him in delivering and picking up materials from jobsites, fixing equipment, and filling in on jobs, among other duties. “It’s different with the people here,” he said. “It’s your family away from home. You enjoy getting up and going to work with them.”
For a lifelong craftworker and artist like Butch, you don’t. That’s why he bricked the entire front of his house on his own last year. And it’s why he’d choose a career in construction again, given the chance.
“It’s a great career and you can make a good living at it,” he said. “It has its ups and downs, but it’s all what you put into it. If you put into it your best ability and learn everything you can learn about it, it will surprise you what you can do.”