The Creamery has been coming along so great these past few weeks! Check out all the pictures in this blog of the cave walls where the cheese will be aged. Check out all the photos in the blog, which show the cave walls being built and the progress of the Creamery Before we know it, these cave walls will be filled with wheels of cheese! We are so excited! All of this progress would not be possible without our great team of people making it happen, and today we are going to tell you about other one of our behind-the-scenes rock star person, Brandon Zalewski.
Brandon is another one of the guys who is doing concrete work for the Creamery, among other things. If you recall, we wrote about Bill a while back, who is pouring the cheese cave walls, and today, we are thrilled to tell you all about Brandon, who is doing all the “flat-work” as he calls it. He isn’t doing any work with the aging cellars, but he is doing all the drain lines (floor drains), floors, the side walks, and the stone façade that will be on the outside of the Creamery. So, basically he is one important dude.
Brandon started doing this type of work when he was 12 or 13. His father has always worked in construction and electrical stuff, so he comes by this quite naturally. Brandon did some vocational training in high school and then got a two year degree in the trade. In 2000, he started on his own, and about 6 or 7 years ago he got started in concrete and later in masonry stone. Normally, he works on houses, additions, residential, and commercial. You may be surprised to hear that he even built the bathroom and pump house at a splash park! It’s easy to see he has quite the diverse work experience and does all sorts of jobs.
Even though Brandon has no ag experience, he has strong ties to the dairy industry. His dad grew up on a farm in the same house that Brandon actually lives in now—which is in Perry, just 3 miles from the cheese plant. 4 generations of Brandon’s family have lived in that house! His grandfather had a milk bottling business back in the day, and Brandon’s wife comes from a dairy farm near Leroy, New York where they milk 1600 cows, although her family originally came to the area from Vermont with just 60 cows.
Brandon says that he really enjoys everything he does, because he is always doing something different and there is a lot of diversity. When asked what he likes about working on the Creamery, he said that it’s been great to work and get an education on how cheese is made at the same time. He said building the Creamery is “like an F-16 fighter jet—enjoy the ride. There are a lot of moving parts in a small area, and it is not like a glider plane.” He went on to explain that just when something seems to be too complicated, it will click and all make sense. He described the Burleys as “pleasant to work with since day 1.” He added, “You don’t see anything like this around here, and it’s pretty interesting what the Burley family is doing and all the history with cheesemaking in France that they are incorporating into this project.” He was referring to their travels to France to learn how to make their cheese, and also their French cheesemaker, Alex, who you can read about in a previous blog if you would like.
Amidst all the hard work and diverse job opportunities, Brandon makes time for his family. His wife is a nurse practitioner in Rochester, and they have three children, ages 1, 3, and 5 (oldest is a girl and two younger ones are boys). It’s obvious when talking to Brandon how important his family is to him. He was also very grateful for his dad Henry and Ryan Tidde and his father Tom, who are all working with Brandon at East Hill Creamery. We hoped you enjoyed “meeting” Brandon and learning about all the work he is doing for the Creamery. Without him, we would have no floors or sidewalks, among many other things! Stop by the sight and see all the activity. You will probably find Brandon there, and I am sure he will not mind you saying hello! Thanks for reading today!