Chief Building Official Steve Brown heads into retirement

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The town’s chief building official has reached the end of his career.

Steve Brown’s last day on the job was June 30 with a retirement party being held for him at the McGregor K of C Hall that afternoon and evening.

“Every day is going to be Saturday for me from now on,” Brown joked.

Brown started in the construction business working at L.D Warren Associates, Developer, Architect and Engineers in 1973 and worked on several projects for that firm. Brown also spent 22 years working at W.C. Crosbie Architects, Glos Associates Architects and Engineers, and John Hreno Architect.

Chief Building Official Steve Brown (centre) was presented an award at the June 26 council meeting in recognition of his retirement. Making the presentation were human resources manager Michelle Rose and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Chief Building Official Steve Brown (centre) was presented an award at the June 26 council meeting in recognition of his retirement. Making the presentation were human resources manager Michelle Rose and Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Among the projects Brown was involved with include the Central Mall in Windsor, Pine Aire Apartments in Windsor, the General Motors transmission Plant, several Royal Bank branches, the Greater Essex County District School Board head office, Chrysler In-plant facilities and Parkwood Gospel Temple along with several co-op housing projects in Windsor, Chatham, Tilbury, and Amherstburg.

Brown said the architect he worked for did a lot of work in Amherstburg with his first significant involvement with the town coming in 1984. He was hired as deputy chief building official in November 1988 and served under John Hreno until becoming chief building official in 1994.

In all, Brown was employed for nearly 44 years, the last 23 with the town of Amherstburg.

“It feels great,” he said of his retirement. “Somebody told me to retire at 65 and not to retire in the winter. I took their advice.”

Brown said he will miss the people that he worked with, the contractors and those he encountered on the job.

Projects of note in Amherstburg that Brown had a hand in include Projects of note in Amherstburg the Amherstburg Police Station, the Westview Apartments, the addition to the town hall including fire station No. 1, two co-op housing projects, Victoria St. Manor, repairs and elevator addition to the library, the redesign of the visitor center, the re-purposing of the cultural center on Victoria St., renovations to the Lions Pool and the relocation and restoration of the Gordon House.

Brown noted the design of Families First Funeral Home was done by a former boss, Larry Warren, whom Brown started working for in 1973.

“The biggest highlight of the job was watching the town progress,” said Brown.

When he arrived, the Gordon House was boarded up, the Salmoni Building had just closed, and buildings that are now local eateries were used for other purposes. Now, buildings and homes are being developed in the downtown core and more walkable neighbourhoods have arrived.

Brown added he helped when local big box stores arrived in Amherstburg as well.

“For all the development that happened after I came, I was glad to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s been very exciting.”

Steve Brown (left) chats with former mayor Bill Gibb and retired administrator Tom Kilgallin at Brown’s retirement party last Friday afternoon.

Steve Brown (left) chats with former mayor Bill Gibb and retired administrator Tom Kilgallin at Brown’s retirement party last Friday afternoon.

Brown won’t become a stranger, however, as he still plans to be active in other ways. He is a trumpeter with the Essex Community Concert Band and they will play Aug. 5 as part of the Canuck It Up! Festival. He also plans on joining more concert bands.

Brown has also been a fixture at Remembrance Day ceremonies where he plays the trumpet as part of the service.

“I intend to do that as long as I can,” said Brown.

Along with wife Nancy, he also plans on doing some travelling as well.

“I have a ‘to do’ list a mile long,” he said. “I’ll be working on that.”

Brown was also honoured at town hall during the June 26 council meeting, where human resources manager Michelle Rose stated Brown “has generously donated the value of his retirement gift to the Essex Community Concert Band to sponsor an outdoor concert at Belle Vue as a fundraiser for Belle Vue sometime next summer or fall.”

“You have definitely left your mark in many ways,” said Mayor Aldo DiCarlo.

Council members also wished him the best of luck.

“You were always upstanding and willing to help any way you could,” added Councillor Rick Fryer.

 

 

 

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