When considering his future, Michael Lieb has some high goals. Several stories high in fact. As part of his work on Comcast’s Innovation and Technology Center, which is set to be the tallest building in Philadelphia and the eighth-tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, Mike has been testing welds on the structure’s 60 floors. Beginning with the project while it was still a hole in the ground, being a special inspector with Urban’s construction services team has allowed him to be a part of one of the city’s largest projects ever.
“Working at heights has become a way of the job for me that is not about fear, but about respect,” Mike says. “It is exhilarating, and while some may find safety measures binding and limiting, moving slowly and intentionally while keeping acute awareness of your surroundings will not only accomplish the same task as one done hastily but will also yield a higher success rate in the project and of returning you home.”
Performing structural steel inspections on unfinished buildings has been a part Mike’s job for more than 15 years. “My favorite part about being involved in structural steel,” he says, “is that you are there to see the skeleton of the building's design, whether it is a museum, warehouse, hospital, WaWa convenience store, or skyscraper. You see its rough shape.” Mike estimates that he has worked on around 200 different projects. When his wife asks him what a construction site is when they are driving by, he can typically tell what the building will be by looking at its structural steel.
A specialty like his has its perks, like being tranquil when you wouldn’t expect, like near the top of a high-rise. “Since the structural steel is the first form of the building,” he says “there are not many other trades or personnel working on the site yet, so usually at the very top of a larger structure it is peaceful, quiet, and untouched.”