The Profession of Building Tanks

As time has past, many of the great professions have also passed.  But, standing almost by itself is a great tradition of building steel tanks.  The fascination of watching the creativity take place, the art of designing and sweat merge together to realize a useable structure.  Thinner in scale than the paper in a paper cup, the tank is fabricated to hold the products of our world today.  The art brings jobs and value to our lives and society.  Such is the gift of the tank builder.

In the end, the liability of the tankie is that his works are scrutinized out in the open where all men can see them.  His acts, whether fitting or welding or fabricating are all in hard substance.  He can not bury his mistakes in the grave like the doctors.  He can not argue them into thin air or blame the judge like the lawyer. He can not, like the architects, cover his mistakes with trees and vines.  He can not, like the politicians, screen his shortcomings by blaming his opponents and hope the people will forget.  The tank builder simply can not deny that he did it and that it is his handy work.  If for any reason his works do not succeed and fall in favor of appearance, then he has failed.

In contrast to the doctor, the tank builder’s life is not among the weak but among the strong and the healthy.  Unlike the lawyer, quarrels are not his daily bread, but teamwork.  Unlike the architect, a facade to hide the mistakes is not the answer, but ingenuity and sweat will form the structure that is appropriate.  There is no question that as the years go by some may forget the tankie, but not I.  The structures stand there in the skyline of the plants that feed and clothe the world.  As we look back we see that the tank builder’s success is everyone’s success and the benefits of value and hard work are felt by every living being in the world today.

Few professions offer so much to society.  As one, let me say thank you for my wife and daughter and the children and grandchildren that may follow in your footprints.

(Inspired by Herbert Hoover and all the tankies at AT&V)