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City Worker: 'Gotta Be a Special Kind of Somebody to Like Doing Asphalt' 
Frankie Robinson, Public Service Department asphalt crew member

When it comes to hot, sticky, uncomfortable summer jobs, there are very few that rival was Frankie Robinson does, day in and day out.

Robinson, a three-year City employee in the Public Service Department, spreads 400-degree asphalt.

Not just a dab here and there. His crew routinely loads, transports and lays 5 to 10 tons a day. During "grind time," when a greenway is being built or resurfaced, his crew might muscle more than 120 tons of asphalt.

"Some people think I'm crazy, but I enjoy what I do," Robinson says. "You gotta be a special kind of somebody to like doing asphalt."

City Blog is profiling some of the City employees who contend with the worst heat and humidity that summer has to offer - and asking them to share their tips for hydrating and staying safe.

The asphalt crew works mostly in the direct sun. The heat rises off the fresh asphalt, which the lute man stands over while it gets spread out evenly. The screw man, who sets the heights on the conveyor belt on the back of the truck, also stands over steaming asphalt.

"You sweat a lot, and by the end of the day, my clothes are drenched," Robinson says. "You don't have much of an appetite during the day due to the heat, so you have to pay attention and hydrate, take in electrolytes. We carry around packs of drink mixes."

Nutrition is important - eating right and taking in enough protein and carbohydrates at home at night. One of his tricks? Chocolate milk.

"I wake up feeling fine, ready to go out and do it all over again," he says. 

Robinson says people are always empathetic to crews working in the heat. So he always returns the favor by treating people right when he's on a job site.

"There's this old stereotype of government workers not caring, not being polite, which isn't true," he says. "We want to break that stereotype. So we try to always be kind and courteous."

Even when it's a withering 95 degrees and the sun is beating down?

"Sure, why not? Even then."

Posted by evreeland On 19 August, 2018 at 5:12 PM