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Bob Brown: My Story

I have been asked more recently several times to tell the story of how I got to where I am today, so I thought I would recounted for the rest of you.

I started my life from a fairly humble circumstances. Growing up I was never an exceptional student. I struggled with dyslexia and ADD. What I did have working in my favor was a strong level of persistence, a burning desire to succeed, with an independence streak that helps with “of the box” thinking. Like many growing up in my generation I would go out mowing lawns with the handlebars almost reaching over my head. I used to work for my father’s employer gluing pennies to mailers for $.60 an hour. I worked harder and longer than most of my older siblings and quite often they would come to me for loans which I would give out at exorbitant interest rates. My father lost all of his retirement nest egg investing in real estate with the interest rate bubble of the late 70s. Despite this set back, I was determined to get my college education even though I had no money other than a small savings.

I borrowed a little money from a friend and went to a car auction and bought an old Chevy Luv pickup for $600. When they started the engine it raised a plume of smoke about 30 feet high. I figured I could replace the engine and still be in it for a decent price. When I drove it home I thought to myself instead of replacing the engine now why don’t I drive it until the engine goes… and then replace it? So I drove that old truck for two years, filling it up with bags of concrete and driving around to shopping centers and replacing planter curbs. The only way I could keep the old truck from overheating in the summertime was to drive with the heater on full blast. I suppose I’ve built up some sort of tolerance to heat. Some of those customers I still do work for today even though we don’t to concrete work anymore. I did finally graduate from ASU in 1984 with degrees in architecture and in finance.

The early days. Myself and 2 workers. Notice the pencil still in my ear… even after a long day of work. It’s a good thing I had my safety goggles on during the work…..

Sharing a booth at a tradeshow with Sunland Asphalt. I am the one on the left….Eddie Basha once asked me “Bob why do you feel compelled to wear a tie with Levis?” Proof that I have always marched to a different drummer.

In the early years of running my business I had lots of ups and downs. I remember working most of the days doing the concrete and masonry work, and then coming home and in my bedroom sitting at a desk I would do quotes and billings at night. During one period I remember having a sports injury that required surgery on my ankle. Because of the surgery I was not allowed to put any weight on the foot for 12 weeks. I remember going to the job site and finishing concrete hopping around on 1 foot. I remember finally saving up enough money to buy a used concrete mixer from Valley Rentals for $500. I was in hog heaven. Prior to that I mixed everything by hand in a wheelbarrow

Our first office after I outgrew the bedroom. I converted this house to 1 bdrm rental with an office and yard on the backside.

The view from the back side

Over the years I’ve tried to look at the needs of our community and provide a service that was not being met as well as it could have been. I have always believed that I need to understand the problem before applying any solutions to fix it. I have had more crazy inventions and ideas than I can remember trying to think out of the box and solve problems. Many of my employees think of me as the mad scientist. This philosophy led me to mud jacking and eventually underpinning, deep pressure grouting, micro piles, and other methods of foundation repair. Today we have over $1 million of specialized equipment and vehicles. We have a dedicated team that cares about our customers and a wonderful 1 acre facility and office to work from. But my biggest kick I get today still is taking a very perplexing and difficult to solve problem in finding a solution that works and is cost-effective.

One of many contraptions that I dreamed up to help us meet customer needs. A Hydraulically powered concrete mixer and transporter.

Our team and Equipment when we first started installing helical piles. Still have the pencil in the ear.

The best is yet to come as I have a vision for our future that is far reaching and exciting. Look for great things to come from these quarters. I will try to remember to post a picture of our current equipment and facilities.

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