Charlie Bryant walks into a room and a chorus rings out: “Chaaaaarlie! Yep-yep! Yep-yep!” Bryant responds in kind with his gravely baritone voice: “Yep-yep! How’s everybody kickin’s it? Yep-yep!’ ”
“It’s a universal word,” he said. “It has as many different meanings as it is used for and for whatever is going on. “It’s my way to get people pumped up.”
Bryant’s signature callout combined with his positive attitude and enthusiasm has endeared him to fellow construction workers renovating Charleston International Airport. Others have taken notice too. During festivities to celebrate the topping out of the terminal redevelopment project, Austin|Hitt Joint Venture, the construction manager, presented Bryant with a certificate recognizing his positive attitude and its impact on his coworkers. He was also recruited to lead the “stretch and flex” exercises during the weekly job wide safety meeting for all construction crew members.
Bryant grew up in North Carolina. A father and a grandfather, he’s been married to his wife Gretel, a Summerville native, for 14 years. He’s been working on the CHS Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program (TRIP) for 14 months and currently works as a carpenter/finisher with Donley’s Concrete Group. He spends a lot of time in concrete but considers himself a jack of all trades, having worked since he was 15 in a variety of places – a meat packing plant, a tobacco warehouse and in disco clubs as a DJ. In his construction career, he’s worked at a nuclear power plant, on runways, in a high-rise hotel, at schools and at a hospital. He does not fly but he loves working at CHS.
“I’ve always loved hands on stuff,” he said. “I started out working at home repair at my house. Then I moved on to fixing things at my friends and family’s houses.”
Bryant said his positive attitude comes from people who encouraged him throughout his life. His work ethic came from his late mother who always told him not to stand around “like stagnant water.”
“If you are pushing a broom, learn how to push the broom and push it well. It doesn’t matter what you are doing, do it well and do it efficiently,” he said. “It is all part of getting a job, maintaining it and getting experience.”