Another kind of home run

Published 29/6 at 14:59

College baseball player Bryan Brehm was introduced to Brokk when he was looking for work outside of school. After falling in love with a woman from L.A., the freelance Brokk operator started a new life on the west coast, founding Pacific Breaking.

In the 1990s, when Bryan Brehm attended Ohio State University at Lima, all he could think of was sport. He played baseball, as well as basketball, but was in need of work to make money to maintain his college studies. “I was doing odd jobs through a temp service which my mom ran,” he recounts. “One of the jobs I went to was a labouring job for two days, where I worked for a company that asked me to come back full time the following summer.”

It was during this period of labouring work that Brehm found the Brokk machine. He eventually continued working in the field all throughout college and, upon graduating, found himself in the profession as a freelance Brokk operator. Sometime later, another life defining path presented itself when he met his future wife Brittany. “One night in Las Vegas, I met an amazing woman. The problem was I was living in South Carolina and she was living in Los Angeles. After several months I decided to take the chance and move to Los Angeles. I had so much work I decided to go out on a limb and try and start my own company. This was the beginning of Pacific Breaking.”

Pacific Breaking, founded in 2018, mainly focuses on robotic demolition on commercial buildings within the Los Angeles area. In addition to buildings, a lot of work is done on cement plants, paper mills, glass plants and steel mills. The company has two employees, with Brehm being the sole owner. Freelance Brokk operators are also hired as needed. For the past seven months, Brehm has been working in Santa Monica, renovating the Google purchased Westside Pavilion Mall of approximately 55,750m². “Throughout the project, I have had four Brokk 110 machines and four operators. A large portion of the roof was removed, which was previously a parking structure. Many mezzanines, stairwells and elevator shafts were removed from the four story building.”

 

An array of exciting projects

Since 2018, Brehm has had the chance of taking part in many challenging and exciting projects. One of the more challenging ones happened last summer when he worked at a power plant in Twin Falls, Idaho. The purpose of the project was to replace a 1m vertical pipe that was attached to a 3m diameter pipe with a 1.8m vertical pipe. “I had to create a 3m x 3m x 9m shaft from the ground up. There was a big deterrent which was a 3m in diameter steel pipe. The concrete that needed to be removed then was from the bottom to the top, versus the standard top to bottom tear out.”

To begin this part of the job, Brehm used a Brokk 160. He then used a modified Brokk 100 with a shortened arm, something he describes as essential because the work area was a small shaft with many limitations. “Scaffolding had to be installed in the shaft with the Brokk 100 sitting on top. The tear out had to be directly underneath in 0.6m increments until I reached 9m where the steel pipe was located.”

Another noteworthy job was the tearing down of two 61m smoke stacks at another power plant, this time on Manhattan Beach. The job was performed with a Brokk 160 on a fabricated device to hold the Brokk inside the smoke stacks. The job was exciting primarily because he was working 61m up in the air on the beach every day. “The Brokk was lifted inside the smoke stack with a crane. The smoke stacks had 61m of scaffolding placed on the outside. I demoed 3m a day pushing all material to the inside allowing it to drop 61m down.”

 

‘Outstanding’ job market in California

The work on the west coast has proven to be a success. Brehm describes the Californian job market as ‘outstanding’ and a place where there is always work to be done. “I am working daily to get my company and information about the Brokk out there for companies to understand how much time these machines will save, in addition to how much safer they will make jobs.” Despite the decrease in work because of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, there is still work to be done. However, Brehm looks forward to its end. “I believe that after things have been shut down for so long my job market will be booming. I am ready for Pacific Breaking to have tons of work and hoping to increase my employees.”

Brehm has experience working all over the United States and has even worked in a few locations in Western Canada. Although he enjoyed it, the main disadvantage was being away from family. Now, with Pacific Breaking enjoying its fair share of success in his new home of California, he is in a good place in life. It is a different yet admirable home run for the college baseball player. “I got married and am now the proud father of boy and girl twins, Jaxon Truth and Bailey Harper. 2020 has been the most challenging yet exciting year of my life.”

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