Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 16 seconds
As my dad Ed turned 98 years old in September, I reflected upon his life and the industry he loves from the day I was born.
The Inspiration To Be A Remodeler
Dad’s teenage years were lost to world war 2 and basic survival skills. My immediate family survived the holocaust intact physically but a huge tole was extracted. Once he was a free man he had to find his way in the world.
Rather than becoming a pharmacist like his father, my dad broke the mold and had to find his niche in the working world. He discovered his love for being creative with his hands in Israel building chicken coops for a fledgling country. He brought his skills to America settling in Berkeley California where he started his family and chose remodeling as his life’s work.
Back in the day, a carpenter would do every aspect of remodeling. It was expected that his son would take over from his father and that the carpenter eventually would become a business owner. I was among his four sons the first generation of post-holocaust survivors who were to be groomed for this cycle.
Dad’s enthusiasm and fearless passion were contagious, but his struggle to make a living was confusing and difficult to understand as a kid. It shouldn’t have to be so hard, I thought. Dad never knew anything other than struggling to stay above water, so I suppose was normal to him.
Not everyone subscribes to this model. I believe that most craftspeople rarely make great business owners. I had no desire to have such a tumultuous life or lifestyle. I regret that by the time I was old enough, he was so wrapped up in business ownership that I rarely got to see him in his overalls thriving in his element as a master carpenter.
I loved the job sites, driving all the trucks, bringing materials to the craftsman, and cleaning up. Eventually, I was given more meaningful tasks and fell in love with tools, his carpenter’s attitude and abilities, and how buildings went together. The clashes with my dad were monumental, what they were about is lost in my memory.
I was a bit hard by the bug and the entrepreneurial spirit that festers in my father’s gut to this day. A compulsive entrepreneur, that illusive buck hides in the next deal.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit is Alive in America
Being his own boss allowed a huge amount of freedom but required way over 40 hours a week and a tremendous amount of responsibility. Skipping holidays, family events, and sleepless nights was the norm. The stretched carpenter would be required to wear two hats that of a craftsman and a businessman. Chasing the illusive dream of profitability and freedom that supposedly comes with it.
My dad went to college and became an architect. My mom got sucked into the business which took a toll and eventually ended my folk’s marriage. The carpenter-turned-business owner was overwhelmed and pulled in multiple directions prone to exhaustion, burnout was prevalent. Gone were the good old days when all he had to do was be a great craftsman.
I Chose A Different Path
My path to professional remodeler was not as direct. I acquired a love for remodeling as a young man but was unable to work things out with my dad and set it aside for a few decades. I discovered I have a knack for problem-solving and fixing things as I matured.
I had to learn to swim in business and survived some lean times for many years as a restaurateur, and Paramedic, working multiple jobs was exhilarating and exhausting. I developed a love for business late in life. I think that my work ethic was the gift I received. I really did turn out to be a chip off the old block.
Remodeling turned out to be my passion too. I discovered that it incorporated almost everything I loved, and like dad I had a knack for figuring things out and working closely with people to make their lives better by remodeling their homes with our brains, creativity, and hands. It is really quite rewarding and fulfilling work.
My Model For Success
Thankfully there is more than one way to become a successful business owner. Based upon my life-learned skills and experiences, I discovered a vast network of remodeling firm owners that are supportive and nurturing me to be a proud and successful remodeling business owner.
As my little company is about to celebrate our 18th year anniversary, I reflect upon the past and have my sights firmly set on the future. I am surrounded by amazingly talented employees who are vested in our success. They are being given tools that are state-of-the-art for project management and communications. They guide me and we nurture each other to be confident and independent. We are a highly functioning team.
I am proud to employ craftsmen who are a throwback to the good old days. I also employ trade partners that are specialists in their field.
Remodeling in its pure form is all about:
- Taking on challenges.
- Creating great spaces out of existing homes.
- Setting expectations.
- Problem-solving along the way.
- Great communication.
- Delivering value.
- Reflecting on the results
Being an entrepreneur is much like flying in a state-of-the-art helicopter. There are so many moving parts working in unison, some are there just to counteract the forces pulling in the opposite direction. Gauges must be monitored, and all of my senses on high alert. I stay focused on where I am headed but realize that I need to take the occasional detour around the weather. Then never forgetting to look out and enjoy the scenery along the way.
Levco thrives because we have the right folks in the right places doing what they love and my clients can tell. My dad is very proud of me and we talk about the business often.
Your comments are welcome. To ask questions or get more information about remodeling, click here to email me directly, or call 208-947-7261
If you or someone you know is considering remodeling or just wants to speak to a trustworthy remodeling contractor, please contact me. You’ll be glad you did.
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