Building Resources in Clinton and Beyond

By Eric O’Connell / • 07/28/2021 8:30 AM EST

With skills learned as a local entrepreneur and an appreciation for working with people, Richard Pleines signed on as the new building manager at Clinton.

Richard, a longtime resident of Killingworth, has been the building manager in that town for about two years. When he learned that former Clinton building manager Ed Smith was about to retire, he said Clinton’s job posting caught his eye.

“Clinton’s job is a full-time position, but Killingworth’s job is part-time, so I like that,” says Richard.

Richard will remain in charge of Killingworth’s building for a few more weeks so the town can fill his vacant position.

Richard, who started his job at Clinton the week of July 20, laughs as he describes the responsibilities of the role.

“Our duty is everything! Richard said.

Typically, Richard meets with not only the developers, but anyone else who might have questions about the construction plans. He reviews plans, ensures projects are up to code and answers questions.

“It’s a lot of public service. Some of it isn’t even technically our job, but we do it anyway, ”explains Richard.

Richard took the course to become a home inspector about five years ago, with the support of his wife Eileen Unger.

“She was a big help, she supported me a lot,” says Richard.

Eventually Richard says he became the building manager at Killingworth, where he worked for two years.

“It just seemed like a good fit,” says Richard.

Lucky for Richard, he has extensive construction experience to help him in this role.

“I’ve been building since I was 16,” says Richard.

Richard has worked as an entrepreneur for over 30 years. Building is something that came to Richard at a young age, and he credits his father with starting it.

“We grew up with it. My father was a schoolteacher, so we always learned to do things ourselves. We were self-sufficient, ”says Richard.

Richard says he has worked on a variety of projects, large and small. One area he enjoys is making sure buildings are Americans with Disabilities Act compliant and accessible to people with disabilities.

“I loved it when I worked helping people with special needs,” says Richard.

He says his experience as an entrepreneur will be beneficial in his new job. ” It’s very useful. You know what these guys are going through so you can help them, ”says Richard.

Right now, Richard says many contractors are currently struggling with material shortages, high prices for those materials, and other supply chain issues.

“These guys are anxious to get started and once one part of a project falls behind, the rest falls behind too,” says Richard.

When asked what his favorite part about being in charge of the building was, Richard was quick to respond.

“I like people,” he says, “pointing them in the right direction”.

During the pandemic, while many people had to work remotely, Richard still found a way to get the job done.

“I personally went to see every inspection last year. We could still work from home with our phones and computers, so we were successful, ”says Richard.

As for the hardest part of being a home inspector, Richard says he sometimes needs to tell people that they aren’t allowed to do what they want to do.

“You have to tell them they’re wrong in a nice way. For the most part, the people are good. I always say that we don’t create the codes, we just apply them, ”explains Richard.

Clinton has several major construction and development work going on.

Richard says he’s already met Big Y architects coming to Clinton and says he’s excited about the work being done.

“I’ve really done so much work and they’re all equally important to me, whether it’s a big or a small project, they’re all important to someone,” he says.

“The staff in the office are fantastic and everyone has been very helpful,” adds Richard, and when it comes to the public, “people are always welcome to call the office anytime with questions. I never want anyone to be afraid to come in.

As a longtime resident of the area, Richard says, “I love the shore, I have always loved it. Richard continues to sail, scuba dive, work on his farm and help his wife with his micro-bakery, The Bread Girl in Killingworth.

“She’s my biggest supporter,” says Richard.