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Minter structure claims ‘Top Job’ honor

PHOTO SUBMITTED/ A gazebo, designed by Imagine Ironworks owner James Minter and built at B&O Machine and Welding, won the Silver Award in the "Top Job" structures competition during the recent National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association's METALFab convention in St. Louis.

PHOTO SUBMITTED/ A gazebo, designed by Imagine Ironworks owner James Minter and built at B&O Machine and Welding, won the Silver Award in the “Top Job” structures competition during the recent National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association’s METALFab convention in St. Louis.

By MATTHEW COLEMAN

An armadillo shell?

The cross-section of a football?

While observers of the unique structure may be puzzled by its appearance, Brookhaven’s James Minter can proudly call it an award winner.

The steel gazebo, designed by Minter and built for a northeast Jackson residence, captured the Silver Award in the “Top Job” competition at the National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Association METALfab convention in March in St. Louis. Minter said he was “thrilled almost beyond belief” when his creation was announced as the second-place winner.

“It’s a tough competition,” said Minter, owner of B&O Machine and Welding and Imagine Ironworks.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / James Minter, owner of Imagine Ironworks and B&O Machine and Welding, stands with the "Top Job" Silver Award for structures at the 2014 NOMMA METALFab convention in St. Louis.

PHOTO SUBMITTED / James Minter, owner of Imagine Ironworks and B&O Machine and Welding, stands with the “Top Job” Silver Award for structures at the 2014 NOMMA METALFab convention in St. Louis.

The competition featured nine total entries, including some from winners of Gold Awards in years past.

Minter’s work was honored in the category for structures, including such items as bridges, canopies, gazebos, trellises, entry arches and sunshades. There were additional categories for other fabricated items.

After looking at the other entries in the structures category, Minter said he set his sights on the bronze prize in the event. He admitted to being a little crestfallen when the Bronze Award winner, a stainless steel version of the Burberry plaid design for a company office, was announced.

Minter’s sadness turned to elation seconds later when his work was announced as the Silver Award winner. The Gold Award in the category was for a spire used in the new World Trade Center in New York.

“Nothing wrong with finishing second to that,” Minter said.

The NOMMA competition was for projects done in the last two years. The gazebo was built in 2013.

From the start, Minter was optimistic that the gazebo could be a competition entry.

“I knew if we got the project, we could enter it,” Minter said. “It’s that interesting.”

Minter’s Imagine Ironworks was awarded the project. The gazebo was envisioned to replace a wooden structure that was “in serious jeopardy of disintergration.”

“All the details and design of the new sculpture were left up to us,” Minter said. “Our goal was to give it the same look as the original, but to make it from steel so it would be longer lasting.”

The various pieces of the gazebo were assembled and welded at the B&O shop and then transported to the job site. All the pieces were left unpainted for a natural finish.

In all, from autoCAD design to fabrication to installation, more than 250 hours of manpower were expended in the gazebo’s creation.

Minter, a past NOMMA president, acknowledges a “small shop bias” when it comes to steel fabrication competitions, and he is happy when those smaller operations are recognized for their work. He said most competition entries come from shops in metropolitan areas where there are large shops with many employees and more opportunities to create potential contest entries.

Minter attended the NOMMA convention with his wife Sue, mother Maxine, B&O project estimator Charles Perez and his wife Carol.