By Rod Lee

Courtesy of Yankee XPress

​In selecting Leonard H. White Training Center on Central Street for its first “Fall Fest” on October 22nd, the Auburn Chamber of Commerce is paying homage to a company—R. H. White—with a long and proud history in the town.

Founded by Ralph H. White in 1923, the firm has been family owned and operated ever since. Mr. White’s son Leonard H. White and then grandson David H. White succeeded him as president/CEO.   David White only recently turned the reins over to James McCarthy. Mr. White will stay on as chairman of the board and devote his energies to strategic direction, development of the future Board of Directors and corporate governance structure.

First-floor classrooms in R.H. White’s new Leonard H. White Training Center can be opened up to one large training room. [Rod Lee Photo]

Mr. McCarthy is a U.S. Army veteran with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from UMass Amherst. He also completed a senior executive program at WPI. Like so many of R.H. White’s employees, he has been with the company for many years: 34 in all in his case, including eight as COO until his elevation to president/CEO in May.

A construction and service solutions company committed to providing answers for energy, water, industrial, corporate and institutional clients across New England, R.H. White was lacking a suitable training facility until 49 Central Street, next door to its administrative offices, became available. The site was formerly occupied by a Knights of Columbus hall. In taking possession. R.H. White put up a new, 14,000-square-foot three-story structure and dedicated it to Leonard H. White in recognition of his pioneering efforts in employee safety and training long before it became an industry requirement.

Hosting an Auburn Chamber event carries special meaning for Christopher J. Devaney, R.H. White’s director of business development, in that he came from the ranks of the Chamber of Commerce—in Clinton and North County.

Mr. Devaney was pleased to provide a visitor with a tour of the training center in advance of the Chamber function.

Basement space, the first he pointed out, will accommodate hands-on training with ground-level access in the rear of the building for equipment, product and tools of the trade for those sessions.

“There will be labs down here for the utility construction division, and an exercise area for employees,” Mr. Devaney said, after switching on the lights to illuminate a broad and presently empty expanse. The floor, he explained, was about to be painted.

“Here on the main level,” he noted, in heading upstairs, “there are three classrooms that can be opened up to one large training room—with smart technology (large video screens and interactive whiteboards). Before we had to use facilities off-site for training including Devens. This allows us to consolidate the training.”

The first floor also features a breakroom/cafeteria and a “timeline wall.”

With offices, another training room and conference rooms on the second floor, the company has found a new home for its Human Resources, Safety and Estimating departments and administrative and management offices for two of its operating divisions: Building Construction and Mechanical Construction.

“Safety 24/7, Quality and Productivity” are staples of R.H. White’s corporate philosophy.[Rod Lee Photo]

The Leonard H. White Training Center will satisfy R.H. White’s needs well into the future; the building is an important addition in that regard, Mr. Devaney said, in that the company invests “1.7 million” annually in training its employees. About seventy-five employees of R.H. White’s total workforce of six hundred will be situated at 49 Central Street.

The building will also go far in enhancing R.H. White’s already-sterling reputation for taking care of its customers. Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) has already held at event there.

The plaudits for R.H. White’s work are numerous and enthusiastic.

Engaged, for instance, in renovating the YMCA’s facilities in downtown Worcester and Greendale, R.H. White brought forth “a great new look” to both properties, Pamela Suprenant, associate executive director of the Central Community Branch of the YMCA of Central Massachusetts, says. “The response from our members exceeded our expectations,” she said. In just a short time after the renovations, “we surpassed our membership targets for the year.”

The College of the Holy Cross has had “a positive working relationship with R.H. White for the twenty-plus years I’ve been here,” Scott Merrill, director of the physical plant at Holy Cross, said. “R.H. White delivers value while getting the job done. If a problem ever arises, they respond immediately whether on the weekend or in the middle of the night.”

It’s called “24-hour support. Any job. Anywhere. Anytime.”

Ample reason for the Auburn Chamber to tap the Leonard H. White Training Center for its Fall Fest, which will feature beer-tasting and other vendors, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on October 22nd.

 

Contact Rod Lee at rodlee.1963@gmail.com or 774-232-2999.