I got the “spark” or the first lessons of the Construction profession from my father, Igit Grigoryan, accompanying him to his workplaces several times, which were always construction sites full of hustle and bustle.
For example, the construction of Yerevan Hydroelectric Power Plant, adjacent to the Children’s railway, where he worked for many years, I do not remember exactly, I think he was carpenter or auxiliary worker, or for example, the construction of the “Stalin Canal”, adjacent to “Pobeda” bridge, near the Wine-Brandy Factory. By the way, free bread and sausages were provided to the employees every day during the break. I do not know why, that sausage was the tastiest I have ever eaten in my whole life. Probably, I was eating sausage for the first time.
Later, I was a construction worker myself, during all school summer holidays, providing partly for myself and partly for my family. My work was much more memorable during the construction of the buildings adjacent to the current building of the National Assembly and our house, which lasted until 1949. I was 16 years old then. I started working at the age of 13 and I clearly remember, since I didn’t have a passport, my job and salary were registered under my father’s name.
To tell the truth, I always stood out due to my physical abilities, conscientiousness, and diligence. I would mainly help the masons carry stone and mix mortar for them, install decking boards, and so on. I knew that my work was approved by the masters and masons․ While they were standing on the deck board placing the stones on the wall, and I – below the structure, they would ask me for stones of different sizes․ Looking around I would find the stone they asked for and would give it to them․ It was mainly called a perpend stone, which was placed on the back of the stone before the mortar would dry to keep the wall upright. I was almost never wrong, which satisfied both the masters and me.
Anyway, on my own initiative, without consulting my parents, I was admitted to the Hydroelectic Engineering Faculty of the Armenian Agricultural Institute (now Armenian Agrarian Academy). Maybe the reason for my decision was that for the first time I had visited the construction of a hydroelectric power plant or the “Stalin Canal”.
After graduating, I undertook the construction of various buildings and structures – residential, industrial, and many others. During the Soviet era, attestations of specialists in all fields were regularly carried out to verify the compliance of their professional qualifications to the basic education level and professional adequacy.
At that time I was already working in “Abovyanshin” Building Trust as a Chief Engineer of the Construction Department (1963).
During the attestation, with some reservations, the commission assessed my knowledge as satisfactory, given the fact that having a basic education at the “Hydroelectric Engineering Faculty” I was working in civil industrial construction. In my case, I thought that was a disadvantage (I later realized that this would not affect my future career).
For that I didn’t have peace of mind, I was concerned about what would happen in the future․ It could hinder my career advancement. The problem was only inside my head, no one had even made any remark.
I made a spontaneous decision, taking into account all the difficulties, including family issues, to be admitted to the “Faculty of Industrial Civil Engineering” of Yerevan Polytechnic Institute. Based on my Diploma, I took an external exam and I was immediately admitted to the 2nd year of the Faculty of my dreams.
I graduated in 1969, when I already had 13 years of work experience in the field of construction, and received a professional Diploma in Civil Engineering.
Let me bring an impressive comparison to make my unconquerable will and my unbreakable decision, aspiration and dream to become a constructor more vivid.
A man marries not the girl he is in love with, the girl of his dreams, but another girl at the insistence and demand of his parents.
Years go by, but the boy does not reconcile with the idea of that marriage, as his joy of the first love does not fade away and die. He even has children, time passes, the boy puts on scales his family and children on the one hand, and his unfulfilled and unfinished love on the other.
In the end, love wins and the boy makes a difficult decision. Divorces his wife, looks for and finds the girl of his dreams- his first love and marries her. He follows his heart and it makes him happy. His marriage is pleasing to God. Dreams come true.
In my case I did not “divorce” my first profession – hydraulic technologies- I used it in my dissertations, books, articles, patents and lectures.
I have used the basics and knowledge of hydraulic technologies and hydraulics particularly in my PhD Dissertation, in one complete book, and in articles devoted to the strengthening and restoration of buildings, structures, methods and techniques of mortar injection.
But, in fact, I “married” my dream profession – construction.
Be forgiving to me and let’s consider it “bigamy”.
That happens too…
I was mentally calm, because all my positions and basic education were aligned (I repeat myself, no one had made any remark). In my mind I was self-contained, satisfied with myself as I finally pursued the basic education I wanted, more precisely – the divine profession.
This is the profession based on which I created my true biography, without expectations and anticipations, as the result of a constructor’s work is permanent and eternal.
Afterwards, when I had the opportunity and honor to write my verse dedicated to a constructor, which later became the anthem of National University of Architecture and Construction of Armenia, the true image of the constructor and architect was expressed in the following two lines:
“Let every single stone you created silently,
Become a monument to you of eternal glory…”
I’d also like to explain why I call this profession “Divine”․ Divine, as the constructor has built, builds and will always build a house both for the heavenly God and celestial humans.
A number of existing monasteries and churches, buildings and structures stand as proof of that.
Moreover, when I hear the words “structure, building, constructor”, a kind of great professional pride dawns on me.
With no intention to diminish the role of other specialists and professions, I think the profession of a constructor is a priority for me and not only for me, but also for many others.
Education, science, economy, etc. are developing in the countries where construction is developed.
Personally, I urge my friends and family members to follow that direction.
By being a constructor you have both pride, duty, and loyalty to the Homeland, while unfaithfulness to your profession is a betrayal.
Glory to you, constructor․․․
As far as I know, the hydraulic engineer is in no way inferior to the construction specialist. Moreover, they were and are the best specialists of our Republic, with full knowledge in construction. However, I have no idea why I used to think they were so different․ In my case, I even thought that working in construction with a degree in hydraulic engineering was a disadvantage. I’ll repeat myself, being a hydraulic engineer may have impressed me while working on the construction of Yerevan Hydroelectric Power Plant and “Stalin Canal” and I have tried to convey that impression to higher education.
Let me quote. Usually in families, the older members ask the younger ones the traditional question: “What do you want to become when you grow up?” I also gave in to that temptation and I asked my great-grandson Vahram Jr.:
“What do you want to become when you grow up, my boy?”
“A soldier,” he answered.
Anyway, I never miss the opportunity of asking the same question on different occasions without any despair, but unfortunately I get the same answer every time – “a soldier”.
Professional pride takes a stand and I consider myself a “hopeless” fan of the profession of a constructor, as there is something divine in the image of a constructor- the image of a man who works and lives with his “honest sweat”.
I do not know how long my dialogue with my great-grandson will last, my never-ending question- “What do you want to become when you grow up, my boy” and his short answer – “a soldier”, but I am per-sis-tent and firm, without retreating, I will continue to “inject” that conviction that becoming a soldier is an obligation and a duty towards the Homeland, while becoming a constructor is a profession, prestige and an everlasting value, a divine mission that comes from the depth of the centuries and goes forward to the centuries.
Eventually, who should continue the tradition of our ancestors if not our grandchildren and great-grandchildren?
I want to tell you a story from my life, what role my parents, especially my father, played in shaping my image.
When I got home with my Diploma in Engineering to show it to my parents, I “declared” about becoming an engineer, my father said briefly (which was typical of him):
“Well done! but watch out not to roll large stones”.
It seemed to me that my father did not understand what I meant. Years later I realized that he got it all right, and I repeated myself again.
“Dad, I must lead people, construct buildings, what do you mean by rolling large stones…?”
“Well, think it through, then you will understand it.” ®
Years went by, I learned what my late father was implying. Do not be tempted, do not make legal mistakes, do not be self-absorbed and so on, which many constructors are consumed by, unfortunately they find themselves in awkward, undesirable situations. The message of not “rolling large stones” has guided me and to this day guides me throughout my life, which I pass on to those around me. I have described this in more detail in one of my books.
As I am fond of art and I have spent some part of my life writing poems, stories and songs, I have tried to write another verse on the 100th anniversary of the University to express my and all alumni gratitude to the University and the profession. I present it below:
DEDICATION OF GRATITUDE
On the 100th anniversary of National University of Architecture and
Construction of Armenia
“Deed is immortal, know it well,
Deed that speaks for centuries on…”
My sacred home, my national one,
With your mission purely divine,
With the monopoly provided universally,
Enlightening Armenians almost a century,
With your flag of sublime conviction waving in the sky,
Looking to a peaceful future with a clear sigh,
You keep moving forward with your head held high…
You educated many a student,
And well-known professionals prudent,
You have to fulfill a great mission ahead…
Carry your “cross” up to the end.
To become a forge for all Armenians,
For many generations will come for guidance,
To become a bright beacon, an eternal light,
To tirelessly create, be everywhere in flight…
With honest efforts of your students brilliant,
And with their monasteries standing concordant,
Many projects have been brought to life,
Buildings, bridges, roads- amazingly designed…
Many devotees, with temples studied,
Wrote pages of nation’s history illustrated,
Gave generations, thousands to be listed…
With our gratitude and devotion,
With a new belief in scientific perception,
We are always full of hope and determination,
To build and weave many new creations…
Let’s be dedicated to our own work,
Strive to go on hand in hand,
Let’s turn the wheel of history and luck,
Into paradise turn the ancestral land,
If an Armenian shall stay in his land and never migrate,
No enemy will ever be able to subjugate.
Anyway, although there is a lot to say and write, but summing up, let me say that I have loved, I love and I will always love the profession of a constructor – the divine profession.
Your humble servant,
Doctor of Technical Sciences, Professor,
Head of the Chair of Construction Production
Technology and Organization
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