It occurred to me that I tend to write a lot about the products but not about the men who craft the intricate stone. I will profile these gentlemen in the coming weeks.
But I thought I would start with Ryan Albregts who is the talented CNC programmer who labors each day to create works of art. Ryan programs the only operational 5 axis CNC south of Jacksonville, Florida. Working in wet conditions Ryan resembles a Viet Cong war veteran after a day at our fabrication facility.
Ryan took on the position in early 2009 after 3 unsuccessful attempts to locate a CNC programmer in Miami that was familiar with stone and working with 3d modeling software.
Although Ryan’s studies at University of West Florida were focused on finance and economics, he is a self taught programmer. Ryan has traveled extensively to many quarrying regions including but not limited to the Dominican Republic, Turkey, Italy, the Southeastern United States.
His extensive knowledge of stone and it’s properties is tapped regularly by architects and landscape architects.
Ryan prefers to be behind the scenes focusing on creating his next masterpiece.
I caught up with him and peppered him with a few questions:
A: What has been your most challenging piece to date?
R: There are actually a few. But I would say the one that took the most time to develop was a set of compound arches.
A: What do you like most about your job?
R: Each day I learn something new.
A: What do you like least about your job?
R: I would have to say the after effects left on my clothes. My wife would agree.
A: What is challenging about fabricating in South Florida in particular?
R: I think many craftsmen in South Florida find it difficult to communicate the immense amount of time and attention to detail what we do takes. South Florida is a very time sensitive and price sensitive market relative to the North East or California. We strive together to provide our clients accurate lead times and the lowest costs but many of them struggle because they expect timeframes typically associated with cast stone. With costs many times we are being compared to fabricators who don’t offer the same level of service we provide. Those costs and any costs associated with delays are difficult to communicate to the person focused exclusively on the bottom line. There is a certain amount of comfort one can take in visiting our facility in the United States, and checking the progress of their job. If dealing with a new competitive company, culture, language, country, or legal system there are very few protections for the end consumer if something is fabricated wrong or changed midstream. Those errors have costs associated with them difficult to communicate for anyone who has not worked with architectural stone before.
A: What inspires you?
R: That’s easy, my family.
A: Do you have any mentors in the field?
R: I have a few but would say Chris Reid, previously of CMS Brembana provided the most initial guidance when I first began working with the machines.
Ryan is not available via phone because of safety concerns. But if you need technical assistance or advice he can be reached through email.