Minnesota training school named for longtime coordinator
The Dick Barlage Training Center pays homage to a dedicated sheet metal worker
A new sign hangs outside the Sheet Metal Workers Local 10 training facility in Saginaw, Minnesota. It honors a sheet metal worker and instructor with almost six decades in the industry.
The facility is now officially called the Dick Barlage Training Center in his honor. The sign was designed and assembled by the school’s third-year architectural students. Contractor the Jamar Co. cut the letters.
According to union business manager Doug Christy, Barlage didn’t want the building named after himself.
“He said we could just make a plaque and put it in the school. I disagreed with that,” Christy said. “They tried to hide the letters from him, but he found out. He was a good sport about it.”
Although he officially retired in 2000, he’s still at the school 40 hours and six days a week. He helped the union find its current facility, an 18,000-square-foot former elementary school.
“For the amount we pay him, he’s basically volunteering his time,” Christy said with a slight laugh. “He’s also the maintenance for the building. It’s his baby.”
Having a school named in his honor hasn’t changed things much for Barlage.
“I park under (the sign) and walk right in the building,” he said. “I can’t be the only one who’s had a sheet metal building named after them.”