Interview With Shawn Van Dyke


John thanks for taking the time to come and chat with us today. How's it. How's it going on doing great man. Thanks for having me. will you give us. I read your bio on your website. But will you give me in the audience of big picture of your background and kind of have to where you are now in. kind of. Give us the backstory. Yeah sir so by education and training or by just sending a lot of tuition money to the university of tennessee. I eventually ended up with a couple of engineering degrees. So i started my career in construction even though that might offend some people when this always used to be an engineer i make fun of engineers used to be one but i got a degree in civil engineering and then a master's in structural engineering and then went out and did the engineering thing for several years and then realized i don't really know how to build anything and i wanted to get out on the job site so transition from i'd say transition from engineering into construction. I really got laid off from the engineering firm. Heart was working for In went and joined project management team for large commercial contractor that. Put me out on large commercial sites Building all sorts of seven are really really like that Did that for a few years than my way. Up working for some architects and then for real estate developer Doing construction management so. I ended up traveling around the country building commercial real estate projects. You know big stores in the out lot developing out lots and all of that kind of stuff in that for several years. And by this time i was married had five kids now so the second kid was on the way my wife was like. I'm glad you're enjoying your job but You gotta stick around mean. I was on the road three or four days a week wherever the projects were so. That was my first business. Started back in. Two thousand five was a construction management and real estate development company. I'm here in knoxville tennessee. So as doing that work here locally then two thousand eight hit and banks were not lending money to real estate developers anymore So i transitioned from there and started a remodeling in general contracting business People these days called a pivot. I didn't realize pivoting at the time. I just time. I had four kids. Three four came back them So put the tool belt on and started a small construction company. Built it up from there and then one of my subcontractors might trim and melwork subcontractor young guy. We went to church together. His business was blowing up because he got into the high end. Trim and melwork work Market here in our area and typical difficult construction business owner great craftsmen horrible business person and he approached me one day and said man. Your i like the way that you run your construction business and everything's always organized I wanna talk to you about how to run a better business. So we met up for lunch and was talking to him about that and giving them some tips and tricks. And and i didn't know he was interviewing me at the time he said. Okay well i think. I need to hire somebody to run my construction business. Much mill work company and He's an acid yeah. I think you should do that. Because you're a horrible business person but you're an awesome. You're awesome craftsmen in great with the guys out in the field and the work was just unbelievable and he just said okay. I want you to do it. And so i thought i was like i got my own thing going on. I'm okay and he's a great salesman and he's like listen. You have a small construction company is gonna take you twenty years to get where you want to be. I'm already in those projects as a subcontractor we've landed some really high end stuff but this business that we just acquired meaning that the projects coming up he said it's gonna put me out of business doing these projects because i don't know what i'm doing and He he so he said I want you to come and run the business. And i thought i bluff bluffing okay. The only way. I'm going to run your business that you let me run the business. You run the field our on the business. But i'm i'm in charge of the business side of it. And he said no problem and he literally pulled out of manila folder with the entire business and it just random paper. Here's the business slid across the table and said you run it and went home talked to my wife and said this is a crazy idea. This is really stupid but my friends gonna suffer and he was right. It was an opportunity to get on some really into high level projects high end projects that i'd already always been wanting to do in such kind of step back and said all right. Maybe we should do this and So bit the bullet went on went. Joined that team as a as the chief operating officer and at the time we had six guys out in the field in within eighteen months we were at twenty two guys in. He was in debt and not making any money. And we kinda turn that around and and that wasn't all me. We had great team a great owner. That had a really good vision and i was just the execute and putting systems in place. Oh did that for about four years and then got another crazy idea saying. Hey what i've done with my businesses and now with this treadmill work business. I think i see the problem here. Within an industry. I can help a lot more business. Owners with systems. All i know construction. It's all i've ever done so after about four years of being the executive there. I left that that job and started writing books and and speaking at industry events and now it's four years later and i've been doing coaching and consulting work strictly for construction business owners since those back in twenty sixteen. So yeah right up for years. We've been doing this Before we move on but are you recommending to your kids. They go to college. You spend a lotta time in college. You said a master's in engineering of some type so talk about that for a second. Are you gonna man. You're gonna make mom hears this. He's gonna get offended. And it. Every time i say but m. i. encouraging my kids to go to college no not specifically i'm encouraging my kids to develop skills in areas that interest them and figuring out how they can make money at it now. Some of those things that some of my kids are interested in now will require them to go to college. But especially as we're seeing in twenty twenty man colleges change. They're still the same tuition rate but they're not allowing you to go on campus and all of the other things that higher said that here's where value is. Now they're saying nope can't come to campus. We're going to do all virtually. So i think the whole world has changed so but to answer your question. No i don't encourage my kids to go to 'cause. I don't discourage them from going to college. The i feel like it's my job as a parent when you're out on your own which i got four boys in a baby girl. I say baby girl. she's five. She's always going to be my baby girl. The boys they're on their own at eighteen. You better figure out how you're gonna make money at eighteen and if that means you're going to college then you know what i took me. I was on the five year plan to get my undergraduate now. Four year plan right but i worked the entire time and paid for most of my most of my college through work. They can do the same thing so And it looked statistically it takes most people at least six years to get an undergraduate degree and only forty percent of incoming freshman even graduate with a degree at all. So yeah do. I encourage them to go that path. Only if it interests them. Only only if that's that's where their future light. Hey you know. One of my kids wants to be a doctor yet. You probably better go to college. I have several of them that are interested in computer stuff in graphic design and other things and got my fourteen year old son this year to start working for a contractor and over the summer and he came home with more money and more cash in his pocket. And said yeah. That's what happens when you go work. And that's what happened with skill so

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