Custom-Made Webcor Grill & Trailer Now Dish Up BBQ at Toppings-Out (With Executives Serving the Food)

Webcor Construction Manager Dennis Heimer and Sr. Superintendent Patrick Haley can add a new skill to their already impressive resumes: grillmaster.

November 2, 2022

Employee Spotlight

Construction Manager Dennis Heimer and Sr. Superintendent Patrick Haley can add a new skill to their already impressive resumes: grillmaster.

Not only have Dennis and Patrick become skilled at grilling hundreds of pounds of beef and chicken on a towable grill; alongside Webcor Craft Executive Vice President Chris Plue, they have learned the most minute details of preparing for and serving a barbecue lunch to hundreds of employees and others at NorCal topping-out ceremonies.

The idea was Chris's. "In April, I was at the SFPUC project when Chris stopped by," Patrick says. "He told me his idea to have executives serve the food at project barbecues as a way to get more face time with the field. I was pretty fired up by the idea."

One reason Patrick liked the idea was that he was already building a trailer barbecue from a 1979 cargo trailer he had inherited from his father, who had discussed the idea of turning it into a barbecue to use at community events. "It was about 70 or 80 percent done by the time Chris told me his idea."

Soon after, Chris reached out to suggest the Webcor Equipment warehouse team could help him finish the trailer for use at topping-out celebrations. "I liked the idea, so I made a plan and brought it to the warehouse to complete."

Chris also reached out to Dennis. "He wanted to put together a trailer that would haul everything needed for a barbecue," Dennis recalls, "everything from tables and chairs to cooking supplies." Estimating an average of about 300 attendees at toppings-out led to plans developed with the Oakland yard to calculate the size of racks to hold the supplies.

"Rich Stoddard (Webcor Equipment's operations manager) found the trailer," Dennis says. "We worked with the Marketing team to develop the design." A company was hired to produce the vinyl wrap that covers the trailer. "Then we ordered some shelving for stacking all the supplies like plates, utensils, napkins, and the like."

The team also mounted a top-load freezer in the trailer, along with a generator to run while en route to events to keep everything cool.

The first barbecue -- at Genesis Marina in July -- served as the trailer's debut, although the barbecue trailer wasn't finished yet; Chris borrowed one from a friend. By the time the next event rolled around, not only was all the equipment ready to roll, but a process was in place in which Chris gets the meat; Dennis the buns, potato salad, and cookies; and Patrick the beans.

At first, Dennis says, they were hit with a weekly stream of toppings-out. "That went on for a month or so," he says, "but it has calmed down. We originally thought there could be one every week, but even that's pushing it."

"We've got it down to a science now," Patrick adds. "We cook the day before the event and get all the food the weekend before. It's not a burden. It takes time away from our regular job, but we really enjoy doing it. There's something cathartic about serving and doing for others."

Besides, he says, work on projects is usually hectic. "This is barbecue," he points out. "You can't rush barbecue."

Projects sign up by adding "Webcor BBQ Events" as a required attendee to the Outlook calendar invite for the topping-out event. This ensures there are no double bookings. Webcor's leadership team has made a point of coming to the events and serving -- Chris's original vision. So far, the feedback from project employees has been stellar.