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With the Greek goddess Nike being the historical basis for Victory figures, it seems fitting that the repair and restoration of Indiana’s Victory sculpture be in the capable hands of Greek immigrant Giorgio Gikas. He learned the basics of metals by working in his grandfather’s bronze art foundry in Athens. The foundry cast/produced commercial products for many years but eventually turned to artistic works. Thus, a bronze conservator was born.
Giorgio is the founder and president of Venus Bronze Works, Inc., Center for Conservation of Detroit, one of the handful of companies in the country that specializes in outdoor sculptural conservation. His repair and restoration of the Victory sculpture has required disassembly and reassembly of its components, welding, cleaning, waxing, and protecting the sculpture, inside and out, from future water damage.
The ultra sophisticated Manitowoc 2250 supplied by Indianapolis-based R.H. Marlin drew its own fan base during the initial phases of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument Project. Photographers vied for specific angles and radio, as well as print media located adjacent to the site, asked for interviews. The giant red machine arrived in downtown Indianapolis in mid-March on multiple flatbed semis and was maneuvered into a specially made platform on the western side of the monument where it lifted workers and materials to build a scaffold surrounding the Victory sculpture prior to its removal on April 23.
When the time came to lift the sculpture from its perch for the first time in 117 years, the crane performed smoothly, delivering the sculpture to a soft landing on the bricks of the northwest quadrant of monument circle. The feat belied that the crane neared the upper edge of its capacity when Victory was found out to have gained a few pounds over the last century.
Detailed planning and hands-on problem solving are the responsibility of Glenroy Construction Company’s Lane Slaughter and Jim Kojetin (pronounced Ko-teen). As primary contractor, Glenroy assembled a team of 11 subcontractors with specialties ranging from bronze conservation, to scaffolding and rigging specially designed to manage the repairs at great height (284 ft.). There is also heavy erection equipment, steel manufacturers, masonry contractors, lightning protection specialists, hazardous materials abatement and roofing!
Glenroy’s 60-year experience in constructing Hoosier landmarks, taught company executives – among them, Slaughter and Kojetin - that almost any contractor can complete a project. The secret to succeeding in a competitive business is to complete each project for each client on time, for the anticipated cost and with the least possible interruption and interference to the client's activities. Glenroy has had a successful record of taking charge of the most difficult projects for the state of Indiana and making them a reality.
No matter the job, Victoria Emery is usually the only female on site. She is a registered professional engineer with 16 years experience in structural engineering and construction with Arsee Engineers of Fishers. She attended Purdue University, receiving both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in civil engineering.
Arsee’s responsibility on the Victory project is to serve as the lead engineer, designing the steel platform that supported the scaffold that was erected around the sculpture for rigging and other preparations, designing a new connection between the upper portion of the statue and the existing steel column inside the statue, and to design a new base plate for the statue to connect its base to the existing structural steel. “I am honored to have worked on a project with so much historical significance to the city of Indianapolis and the State of Indiana. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for an engineer, and it has been a pleasure to work with the group of talented individuals that have come together to make the project a success,” she said.