I grew up with a Dad who could fix anything. I didn’t really know there were tradesmen or “handymen” until I was probably in my twenties. When I was a kid, I thought if something broke or needed to be improved, your Dad would do it. We never had a person come to the house for anything that I could remember. I believe it was because he grew up on a small family farm in rural Wisconsin. This was the 1930’s and 1940’s at the tail end of “The Great Depression”. From what I hear there weren’t a lot of options on the farm. They didn’t have HGTV (or TV at all) or the internet to learn how to fix something. If you wanted something fixed or done to improve your life you had to figure it out. I’m sure he probably felt the same way about his Dad. I never met him but heard many stories of how they fixed things on the farm. My Dad did everything from plumbing to electrical, carpentry to auto mechanics and anything else that could go wrong. He didn’t have to do these things around our house. He made an excellent living as a chemical engineer. I don’t think it ever occurred to him that he should have another man come to our house to do something he could do.
My Dad is my inspiration and the reason that I got into construction in 1992. I was selling ceramic tile at a place called “Tile for Less” in Seattle, WA. Tile for Less catered to the DIY crowd. They offered weekend classes, how to videos and loaned out tools so people could do their own installations. One of my customers asked if I could install their kitchen floor. I told them I hadn’t actually done it before but agreed to do it for $300. I think the farmer spirit that my Dad had (and both of my grandfathers) woke up inside me. My wife and I worked on this floor, nights after our day jobs. We finished it late into the third night. They paid me and referred me to their friends. This led to another job for another of their friends. I was hooked and quit my job (way too early). We launched our tile installation business and began learning new skills along the way. This is why I’ll always have a place in my heart for the resilience of farmers and my Dad.