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Northern California’s Carpenters Union Unveils the Howard E. Verrinder Training Center

The new Carpenter Training Center on Santa Rita Road in Pleasanton, a 86,952-square foot, state-of-the art facility, provides training for 6,150 apprentices, including  millwrights, pile drivers, carpenters, acoustical, insulators, scaffold erectors, hardwood floor layers, and office modular furniture installers.

The training center serves more than 200 apprentices weekly across Northern California counties including Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties. The facility provides the space, tools, equipment and advanced technology for hands-on education for trade apprentices to prepare for careers in construction.

At the dedication ceremony for the building, a plaque was unveiled naming the facility for Howard E. Verrinder, who served as Chairman of the Northern California Apprentice Program for 30+ years. He oversaw growth of the program, financing and fund raising for the new building, as well as the development of countless construction careers.

“[The building] is a monument to people like Howard who believe in and love the trade so much that we should only graduate the best apprentices and provide them with the facilities to make it happen,” said Bob Alvarado, Executive Officer of the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council, which represents over 35,000 men and women in carpentry and related crafts.

“I was absolutely surprised when I arrived at the center and saw all the people gathered. I thought I had a breakfast meeting,” said Verrinder. In his remarks to the crowd, Verrinder emphasized that he alone could not take credit for the project and attributed the building’s success to the entire team.

“Under Howard’s watch, he was able to get the financial house in order so that the Training Center could stand on its own. He considered it a great privilege to be able to do something that he loved and hopefully to have made a difference in future apprenticeship,” said Jerry Overaa, CEO of Overaa Construction.

Verrinder served as general superintendent for Overaa for 40+ years, where, during his tenure, mentored thousands of crafts people and helped shape the landscape of the Bay Area.

About Howard Verrinder:

“I first met Howard on a playground in El Cerrito, CA. Even as a teenager, he stood out as a leader. He was the type of person everyone gravitated toward,” said Overaa. Jerry Overaa and Verrinder would go on to form a dynamic collaboration that has helped shape the Northern California construction industry.

Howard joined Overaa Construction, a general contractor based in Richmond, CA in 1966 as a carpenter. He quickly rose to the position of Senior Superintendent and was responsible for managing Overaa’s most important clients.  During his tenure, he built East Bay MUD’s Moraga Pumping Plant and Overaa’s first of 11 parking structures for BART, at the Daly City station. He helped the firm carve out niches in both municipal infrastructure work and parking structures.

Howard built the Richmond Museum and worked at Chevron Chemical on multiple contracts. In what turned out to be a pivotal alliance for the builder in the late 1970’s, Howard managed more than 150 craft people and multiple trade contractors for seven years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

“Howard’s vast construction knowledge enabled him to solve almost any technical problem, but it was his collaborative style that was his true genius. He had a way of making everyone feel they were part of the solution,” said Chris Manning, President of Overaa Construction. When Overaa’s General Superintendent Lester “Curly” Stewart retired in 1980, Verrinder was promoted to the role. He served as General Superintendent of Overaa for 20 years. During those years, he led the company through growth years as well as tough economic cycles, consistently managing and mentoring more than 200 craft people.

Long-time Overaa employees remember the culture and camaraderie Verrinder inspired. Wednesday evenings were paycheck day, and crew members would drive to Richmond to gather in Overaa’s shop, where Howard presided over the evening’s festivities. “Howard would hold court, while people swapped stories, told jokes, and stayed for hours. Howard made everyone feel heard and respected,” said Dale Jackson, General Superintendent at Overaa.

Verrinder comes from a construction family. His dad, Cal, was the Union business agent for Richmond Local 642. Verrinder graduated from El Cerrito High School and West Texas State, where he excelled as an athlete. He played football, baseball, and swam in both high school and college and when he was drafted, went on to represent the US military on the Army’s premiere baseball team. A father of five and long time El Sobrante resident, he now lives in Walnut Creek where he enjoys golfing and spending time with grandchildren.