My first day on the job at the Builders Exchange of Louisville was September 20, 1971. I had just earned my MBA at the University of Louisville in August and found a job posting at the U of L Placement Office for the position at Builders Exchange. I, of course, had never heard the word “construction” mentioned anytime during my years in college and did not know the first thing about it. In college, we talked about banking, manufacturing, wholesaling, finance, etc. but never once even mentioned the word “construction”. What kind of a strange world had I entered? I was to have three months on the job with my predecessor Jim Snyder before he retired at the end of that year, but he suffered health problems in my second week on the job and never made it back to the office. What was I to do now?
Well, some forty years later, here I sit trying to write a farewell message. I first thought of the possibility of retiring in January of 2010 when the Board of Directors asked at a strategic planning session if I had any plans of retiring anytime soon. The thought had never really crossed my mind but that question did start me to thinking about the possibility. In July of 2010, I did finally decide to retire at the end of this year. I turned sixty-five in September of this year and marked forty years of employment with Builders Exchange that same month. It just seemed to be a good time but it was one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make. I compare this eminent departure to leaving one’s family.
A lot of water has indeed gone over the dam during these past 40 years and I am so very proud of what we have accomplished as an organization over these many years. We have gone from a small, mostly local, and relatively unknown organization with three staff members to the largest commercial construction association in the state with a thousand members and a staff of fifteen. We own our two buildings in Louisville and Lexington and we are the recognized leader in the industry in so many respects.
The accomplishments we have made over these years are due in large part to a lot of hard work. We have always been fortunate to have excellent people serve on our Board, and our staff is phenomenal. It is because of their dedication and contributions that we are who we are today. It is also because of great members and other industry figures including you who have supported us over all these years.
We all understand and realize the challenging economy we are in today and truly hope and pray that better times are on the near horizon. We have seen our members suffer for far too long in these past few years. Despite the economic hardships that most everyone is facing, I truly believe that the Builders Exchange is stronger now than ever before and that we are poised to attain even greater heights in the years to come.
It has been a privilege for me to help guide the Exchange during these past forty plus years and I do anticipate staying connected in some form to this great organization and industry for some years to come.
I want to extend my warmest personal regards to you and wish for you the best of health and happiness in the years ahead.