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The Good Ol’ Days

Have you ever talked to a dinosaur?

I’m only bold enough to use this term, as the man who used this phrase in a recent conversation used it when referring to himself. He’s a member of the “greatest generation” and a man from whom I think we all could learn a lot.

Many moons ago (before our economy saw the more recent uptick), I stood in the road talking to a well respected and seasoned gentleman in our industry. I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with this man numerous times before, but what I took from this particular conversation still resonates.

The conversation was simple— one very relaxed and enjoyable, but at the same time meaningful and pertinent. As we discussed economic trends and what he anticipated for the evolution of construction as a whole, I soon began to listen to him explain how tough the market could be for someone like him. A guy who knows how to accomplish things in his business and how to do things right never compromising integrity for the sake of completion. I’ve seen him turn down many opportunities simply because he couldn’t do the job the way he knew it needed to be done. The economy during the time of our conversation was steady, but the nervous feeling about the unknown caused doubt in people and made for an uneasy environment.

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Early Nearen Construction Job Site Sign

What stands out to me most about our time together is the years of wisdom he unknowingly bestowed upon me. It boils down to this (my honest opinion)— they don’t make them like they used to, automobiles, houses, toys, and people included. Older generations did things differently. They were mindful and efficient, understanding that quality was not to be compromised in haste. They knew the importance of a contract, but they understood the deep value of a handshake and the relationship between builder and client. This philosophy is something we all must understand and appreciate.

The economy is not what it was during my conversation with him, but it stays relatively stable and people are still eager to build. In this industry you must be mindful of who you’ve worked with and who you will work with. Make sure they have the backbone and discernment of the “greatest generation.” In our experience it’s saved us countless headaches and ultimately countless dollars. It’s my hope that if we learn from their collective experiences we can in turn learn to do more and do better. Nearen is thankful for the legacy of people like my friend and hope to pass it down to the next generation. Take a moment to learn from those men and women, the “dinosaurs,” who molded this industry into what it is today. “If you don’t know history, you don’t know anything.”
Humbly to the Grindstone,

Austin Hall

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