Trayan Tonkov’s Infectious Energy and Hard Work Help Him Thrive as a Concrete Labor Foreman

At 68 years old – “only 68,” he is quick to point out – Trayan Tonkov appears fitter than many men half his age. Trayan, a graduate of the first Construction Ready at Build Cobb class back in October 2015, keeps in shape through his work as a labor foreman with Precision Concrete Construction. The keys, he says, are avoiding sedentary habits and substance use.

“The movement is the life,” explains Trayan, a native of Bulgaria. ““To be [confined to] one building, that would kill me.

“In 1977, I quit cigarettes,” he continues. “In 1979, I drank for the last time. For over 40 years I haven’t touched alcohol. That is the secret.”

Trayan was recognized for his hard work with a Construction Ready Graduate of the Year Award at CEFGA’s First Annual Craft Pro Champions Awards Breakfast in August 2019. (See related story.)

“Trayan is a very diligent worker and completes every task he is assigned,” Justin Utterback, Precision’s Director of Repair and Restoration, wrote in nominating Trayan for the award. “His leadership skills and management skills have developed over this time. I am grateful to have him as a key part of my team.”

Before moving to the U.S. in 2014, Trayan had years of experience working in oil fields in the Middle East. His supervisors at Precision cited that background, as well as his Construction Ready training, in helping him advance quickly.

In 2016, Precision opened a Repair and Restoration Group to service customers and clients with infrastructure repairs and restoration projects. Recognizing Trayan’s excellent work in supporting superintendents on multiple projects, General Superintendent Judd Harris offered him the opportunity to become a Repair and Restoration Foreman, a role for which he said Trayan was a perfect fit.

“Trayan’s ability to communicate with clients and employees is exceptional,” Harris says. “His ability to work in controlled environments and clean areas based on his years of experience has proven to be a tremendous asset to Precision.”

Trayan and his wife, Emiliya, were preceded in their move to America by their daughter, Sophia Tonkova, who arrived in 2001. She worked at Six Flags over Georgia and Six Flags Whitewater as part of a student program; she liked her new surroundings so much, she decided to stay and went on to earn a finance degree from Kennesaw State University.

The family lives in Smyrna. Trayan learned about Construction Ready from a neighbor who worked at Cumberland Community Church, which initially hosted Build Cobb classes before the program moved to a new location in 2019.

Trayan’s job takes him all over metro Atlanta and beyond. He has worked on everything from a Synovus project in Cobb County to a dorm at Georgia Tech to a renovation of State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta.

“Everytime I drive around the city, I say, ‘Oh, Trayan worked there,’” says Sophia. “He likes variety and going to different job sites. That’s more appealing than being in one place all the time. He always does his best, and I am glad that [CEFGA and Precision] showed their appreciation.”

Trayan’s energy is infectious – he’s animated even in the midst of a sit-down conversation – and it’s clear he has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

“To say I started a career – it is a little late to build a career, but I’m very pleased,” he says. “Everything is interesting because it is new for me.”

Learn more about Construction Ready at constructionready.us.

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