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The Detroit Foreman

A project foreman is where the rubber hits the road.

A foreman collaborates with a project manager and together they are responsible for a project’s schedule, safety, quality, and the means and methods deployed to efficiently make progress.  As highlighted in previous newsletters, Schad has been very fortunate throughout its history to have employed the services of several incredibly hard-working and talented foreman.  In August, our newsletter highlighted some of Schad’s earliest foreman, last month, we showcased several key contributors to our “Up North Crew,” and this month we feature a few of Schad’s key Detroit bricklayer foreman.  Although these individuals resided in the Detroit area, they left their footprint throughout the entire United States through their contributions to their craft as well as to their company, Schad Refractory.


John Fairbanks was a Schad bricklayer foreman who served the company throughout the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  Throughout his career, John was known as a bricklayer with a knack for installing linings in iron furnaces.  Previously featured Schad Project Manager, Dave Sullivan, kept him busy, and John responded by being a skilled-dependable leader in the field.  John spent a significant portion of his career in the iron foundry at Ford Cleveland where he worked hard, represented Schad professionally, and was well liked by the plant personnel.  John was especially skillful at assembling inductors at the foundries in which he worked, which is an especially technical job and is critical to furnace operation.  When he wasn’t at Ford Cleveland, John kept busy running work and laying brick in other foundries, mineral processing operations, and waste treatment facilities.  John is remembered for having his own way of doing things, being a good co-worker, and passing many of his skills down to the next generation of Schad bricklayers.

John didn’t do it all on his own.  He often teamed up with two of his favorite laborers, Bill Lezotte and Larry Traynor.  Together the three of them were a high quality dependable crew.

Outside of work, John enjoyed spending time with his family including his wife, Judy, working on his house, and playing golf.  John still stays in touch with his co-workers from the past and occasionally grabs breakfast with Dave Sullivan and fellow Schad foreman (featured below), Phil Raymond.


Larry Cox served as a Schad bricklayer foreman from the 1970’s to the early 2000’s.  Larry is remembered for being a very versatile tradesman.  Regardless of the task, Larry was up to it.  Larry was skilled at brickwork, monolithics (cast or gunned), plastics, fireproofing, and ceramic fiber.  Due to this versatility, Larry worked in a cross-section of industries including petrochemical, waste to energy, mineral processing, aluminum, and glass to name a few.  Larry is also known to be very detail oriented and precise.

Larry played a major role in several important Schad projects during his career including waste to energy projects all over the United States as well as the installation of new zinc columns for Huron Valley Steel.

Larry is remembered for being a mild-mannered foreman who always put in a full day’s work.  He is known as a “tinkerer” personally and professionally, and is always working to invent or improve items that interest him.  He even developed a patent for a magnetic brick pogo used to install brick linings in mineral processing applications.  Famous for never being without a cup of coffee and a cigarette, Larry is known to enjoy working or tinkering at all hours.

When Larry is not tinkering, he is a “family guy” who enjoys spending time with his wife, Wanda.


Like the previous bricklayers mentioned, Phil Raymond, was an active Schad employee throughout the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s.  Phil began his career as a bricklayer for McFarland and Hayes.  It is here where he began to learn his trade, however, when work slowed down and they eventually went out of business, Phil found a home at Schad.

Phil spent a lot of his career working for previously featured Schad Project Managers, Tex Jarvis and Bo Calvin.  Phil specialized in brickwork and spent a large percentage of his career at the Detroit Waste Water Treatment Plant, Dundee Cement, Detroit Lime, and several heat-treat shops throughout Southeastern Michigan.

Phil is remembered for being a serious guy who focused intently on his job and the tasks that needed to be accomplished each day.  Phil was a good teacher that showed several of Schad’s current bricklayers “a thing or two.”  Due to his focus on his job and his willingness to help co-workers, Phil is remembered as a well-liked member of Schad’s team during this time period.

Away from work and in retirement, Phil is a “family man” and still enjoys getting together with former co-workers Dave Sullivan and John Fairbanks for breakfast.


Serving as a bricklayer foreman throughout the 1980’s, 90’s, and 2000’s, Rick LeMarbe is remembered as an “old school” bricklayer who built a far-reaching reputation for the work he performed throughout the industry.  Like others featured in this newsletter, Rick was a very versatile bricklayer with a dynamic skill set.  Rick was a third-generation bricklayer who proudly followed in the footsteps of his grandfather and father alike.

Rick ran a lot of projects for Schad throughout his career and had the self confidence required to manage large crews of people.  During his career, Rick worked in numerous industries including iron, aluminum, waste incineration, petrochemical, and steel.  Some of Rick’s career highlights include spending Christmas’s taking care of the iron furnaces in East Jordan, Michigan, installing the brick on a large fluidized bed boiler project in Minnesota, installing 1,000’s of feet of kiln brick in the mineral processing industry, and relining aluminum furnaces from Alabama to Wisconsin.  One thing that set Rick apart was his “never say no” attitude.  Rick embraced challenges and was always eager to take on the next project regardless of the demand it may place on him.

Rick’s pride in his craft showed through and he managed to teach several bricklayers and even Schad managers a lot about the trade.

Outside of work, Rick is a family man who has enjoyed a long marriage to his wife, Mary, who both enjoy spending time with their children and grandchildren.  Rick is also an avid outdoorsman whose passion for hunting has taken him around the globe.

Schad would like to extend an enormous thank you to John, Larry, Phil, and Rick for their time and dedication to Schad.  As with our current foreman and those to follow, without you, we could not accomplish our goals.