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A Tribute to One in a Million

By Alexis Eades

Who He Is

Headshot of Sam Baratou

Introducing Elhosein “Sam” Baratou, a man who has shown dedication, passion, and commitment throughout his career and is about to retire. He’s brought his industry knowledge, reputation, and grit to Maser Consulting. Sam Baratou has over 25 years of experience in Geotechnical and construction quality assurance and materials testing, the last ten of which have been at Maser Consulting. Every day of his career, he has brought dedication and reliability with him. Most recently, Sam has worked as a Senior Technical Manager overseeing Construction Quality Assurance (CQA), responsible for the interpretation and implementation of shop drawings and specifications, as well as preparing proposals and coordinating budgets.

Over the course of his career, he has predominantly been known for the work he did for a major big box hardware retailer client. He managed the CQA for building dozens of stores and warehouses with large square footage. His expertise has been a great asset for clients and contractors alike during sub-structure and superstructure operations, comprising observations and testing for concrete reinforcement/placement, masonry, pre-cast walls, structural steel, paving, and site work. Baratou has also been the Chair of the firm’s Construction Services Committee, which focuses on training newly hired field technicians, passing-on his knowledge, while providing monthly refresher training for field personnel to improve their quality of work. He has gone above and beyond, become a top mentor, leader in our company and industry… and is leaving big shoes to fill.

What Set Him Apart

Sam’s expertise is certainly a large part of what has made him such a valuable manager, but the thing that sets him apart most is his big personality and ability to get the job done. Anyone asked will describe him as knowledgeable, trustworthy, reliable, and respectful in every day of managing people, travelling, and representing his firm. Senior Geophysicist Alexander Ross shared an office with Sam for several years, and noted that he was always positive, even on the most stressful days. He said, “His attitude continues to cheer up the office, bringing a smile on every encounter. Sam’s contribution of his years of knowledge and overwhelmingly-friendly and positive attitude will be greatly missed.”

Career Path

Starting out purely as a field worker, going to sites and working on one project at a time, he began his career with knowledge in soil mechanics and structural engineering, which he studied in college. But after meeting mentor Moustafa Gouda (now a Senior Project Manager in Geotechnical services in our Headquarters) he was encouraged to learn about the geotechnical side of projects as well. Sam said, “I liked the challenge of construction, and did not see myself in geotechnical at first, but soon realized how critical it is for the construction side to understand geotechnical information, how designs were affected by things like soil quality, and so forth. A lot of people in construction don’t take the time to do that but it’s important.”

A pivotal moment came early in his career when he displayed an innate ability to gain both coworker and client trust through his expertise, dedication and ability to follow a project through to the end and beyond when necessary. These lessons helped him to create a reputation built on confidence and reliability that have been his hallmark. He said, “We always need to part ways in good terms, no matter what happens with a contractor or anyone, we never leave a job without mutual respect.”

Sam wasn’t just reliable with clients, he treated everyone with respect. Maser’s Senior Accounting Administrator Mary Ellen Menzella noted Sam’s dependability as well. She said, “It was a pleasure to have him as one of my managers. He has always been a gentleman, a kind and caring person. He would always get his billing returned to me on-time and call if it was going to be late or if he had questions regarding a project draft. His attentiveness and professionalism will definitely be missed. He is one of a kind!”

What’s next for Sam?

He said, “In 1994 I started working nonstop travelling up and down the east coast, being out of my house for months on end, pretty much without a break. Now it’s time to enjoy the rest of my time and relax.”

Sam Baratou demonstrated how to be an ethical leader in every job, and in every interaction. Whether it was as a field worker or a manager, he led by example by consistently being both knowledgeable and principled. His legacy will live on through the many people who worked with and learned from him. Good luck to you, Sam, and thank you for all of your efforts!

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16 Responses to “A Tribute to One in a Million”

September 15, 2020 at 4:59 pm, Anthony Hankerson said:

Thank you Sam!!! I had no idea you were retiring. Thank you for taking all my calls and questions. Thank you for pushing me to do more and be a standout. Enjoy your retirement sir!!

September 15, 2020 at 6:29 pm, Stephanie Lange said:

Sam, it has been a pleasure working with you. I remember when you first started with us in the Logan office. You have always been the nicest person I have worked with. You will be missed. Enjoy your retirement and time with your family.

September 15, 2020 at 7:42 pm, Eric Alexie Cruz said:

I worked with “Sam” for over 10 years. He was by far the best boss I ever had. He inspired immense loyalty in his charges as he gave as much. I learned a lot from him, not just in geotech. He is someone that will definitely be missed. I want you to enjoy the next part of your life.

September 16, 2020 at 9:19 am, Donna Corman said:

A lovely tribute to Sam as he moves on to a well-deserved new chapter! I will miss you, Sam! Donna Corman

September 17, 2020 at 8:54 am, Sue Zitzman said:

A great tribute! Sam best of luck in your retirement. Thanks for inspiring so many of the staff at Maser in a positive way. True leader and mentor.

September 17, 2020 at 8:58 am, Eileen Kirms said:

Congratulations on your Retirement Sam! It has been an absolute pleasure working with you. Enjoy ever minute! You will be greatly missed.

September 17, 2020 at 11:57 am, Michelle L Lyons said:

When you stop living to work You start working at living = RETIREMENT Go enjoy your retirement You have earn it
Enjoy your days ahead

September 17, 2020 at 3:28 pm, John Fodor said:

I had no idea! Congrats Sam, pleasure working with you.

September 17, 2020 at 5:50 pm, Moustafa Gouda said:

While at Lippincott Jacobs and Gouda in Riverside NJ in 1994, my brother who was visiting from Egypt told me that he wanted to introduce me to a civil engineer who his mother is a family friend. I met Sam and hired him on the spot. He started with us as a field technician and showed leadership and demonstrated construction knowledge. Clients loved him so all his co-workers. Sam traveled up and down the east cost doing construction and quality control on numerous Big Box Home depot and Target to name a few.
By 1999 I left my company and joined Schoor DePalma. Off course I could not possibly leave a valuable man like Sam behind. Soon he came to join me at Schoor DePalma and soon he became our lead vertical construction manager and we grow the Vertical construction business from one person to over 15
inspectors.. Sam always demonstrated high moral and high ethical behavior he lead the team with dignity and knowledge. In 2009 Richard Maser called me and offer me to Join his firm as the director of geotechnical Engineering. After few months of discussion I joined Maser Consulting in January 2010. One more time I could not leave such a valuable man like Sam behind. Sam shortly thereafter, joined me at my new home and with his effort and my knowledge of the market place we started a vertical construction business for Maser Consultant. By 2015 I gave up my management position and remained on the staff as a senior consultant to the geotechnical group. Phil Gauffreau and I continued to count on Sam ability and Knowledge and experience and continued to grow up the vertical construction business. Sam last job with me was the 700 million Dollar new Valley Hospital in Paramus NJ. Our Client is senior Gentleman from South Carolina who is tough and demanding. Sam gained his respect and met his demands always on time and with skills unmatched in the industry. One of Sam last jobs that he did was for one of our competitors a Home Depot in Perth Amboy. Sam will be missed but as his mentor I know he worked very hard over the past 24 years along my side. I only wish him the best and Sam now no more calls to every inspector at six in the morning . No more time sheet and billing, no more harassments by demanding client. Enjoy retirement Sam I know where you will retire and I will come to visit God willing. Take care Sam I loved working with you and personally I will miss having you by my side. Best of luck my friend . My wife Nelly and I wish you and your wife Happy retirement.

September 18, 2020 at 7:51 am, MaryEllen Menzella said:

Congratulations on Your Retirement Sam, You Will Be Missed!! Enjoy Every Minute, You Deserve It!

September 18, 2020 at 8:04 am, PATRICK LECCESE said:

Sam, CONGRATULATIONS… YOU MADE IT!! It has been 20+ years of knowing you and I wont say goodbye, just see you around. I hope you make the best of it!!!! Enjoy!

September 18, 2020 at 11:15 am, Margie Raff said:

Wishing you all the best! Enjoy!!!

September 18, 2020 at 11:27 am, Janet said:

Congratulations on Your Retirement Sam, Enjoy Every Minute, You Deserve It! Will miss you

September 21, 2020 at 12:16 pm, MIchael Warren said:

Congratulations Sam!! You have always been a pleasure to work with. Enjoy your Retirement, you deserve it!

September 29, 2020 at 11:15 am, Larry Clevenger said:

Congratulations Sam. Sam and I go way back to the old Schoor DePalma days. I was hired to work in the geotechnical group for Moustafa Gouda under Sam as a field inspection., I run a lot of jobs like Hope Depot and a lot more. Sam was always working day and night to insure his clients got what they need along with his employees, He was a workaholics. Sam is great person to work for and always would take the time and see how you where doing. Sam and I departed back in 1999 from schoor DePalma. Sam and I would always try to keep in touch. In 2019 we reconnected, I need Sam help on a project where I the twp. required special inspection. I reach out to Sam for this project in Perth Amboy, NJ for Duke Realty.
Sam meet with me and a former Schoor DePalma Engineer Bill Mercurio to go over my project to see if they could assist us with special inspection for rebar and concrete. Sam cleared his schedule and shifted his man power and made it happen. Sam I wish the best in your next chapter in life, enjoy the time with family and be well my friend…..

September 29, 2020 at 8:59 pm, Paul Nolan said:

Sam was always dedicated to his work but his true strength came from within, soft spoken, strong in his values and morals and always knowledgeable to the work at hand. Sam will truly be missed and wish him all the best in his new endeavors.

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