Ten years ago, I made a temporary decision to take a 1-year hiatus from teaching high school math. At that point, I was ten years into my teaching career and was dug into Bloomington. However, I had been cultivating a love for building for much of that previous decade and a leap of faith led me to take a leave of absence. At the time, I thought that it would likely be just a one-year break from teaching and an opportunity for a deep-dive into something that brought me so much joy.
Thinking back over these last ten years, I can pinpoint a few crucial moments that helped to shape who we are as a company and who I am today. However, it is hard for me to think of 10 years worth of those moments. The reality is that my world has changed in many, many ways. My wife and I have 3 wonderful children who shape much of our lives. The three dogs that were with us when we began this journey are all gone and we now have a new pack that runs around the farm.
As for LWB, the company that started out with just me and my wife has blossomed into a 50-person team of people for whom I have an incredible amount of love and respect. For the last year or so, we have worked hard to keep that number stable, in an effort to slow the growth and to work more on refining our best practices with the team that we have.
Frankly, one reason that we have worked to limit our growth is that we are bursting at the seams in our current location. The space that we carved out from a broken down oil-change facility on the edge of town has now gone through three renovations/additions, along with supplements via a tiny-office annex and a handful of shipping containers. It probably happened a year or two before the reality struck me, but we have got to have a bigger space. On May 15th, we closed on 900 S. Walnut, a beautiful building just south of downtown that was the original offices of the Indiana Limestone Company. We are so excited to restore this building and make it our home. However, with that excitement comes a fair amount of nostalgia for me, as along with our projects, we have also built a lot of wonderful memories in our old space.
Simultaneous with this reflection on the first decade of this company, it is impossible for me not to acknowledge the uncertainty and fear that come along with the current reality of the Coronavirus and the impacts that will play out over the coming years. It is difficult for me to describe the parallel strands of excitement around our current work, team, and culture, juxtaposed against a very real fear for the safety and security of the world being shaken by this Pandemic.
I suppose that where I stand today and my mood moving into the next 10 years of work for this company is not dissimilar to what it was in 2010 when I made the decision to leave the comfort of my teaching position and leap into the unknown. At that point, we were still in the tail end of the great recession and the construction industry had not quite rebounded. Yet, I had a great deal of optimism and faith that if we worked hard, acted with integrity, and sought out like-minded outfits to partner with, we would be successful.
Growth is almost always a combination of pain and joy and I expect the coming year and the coming decade to bring equal shares of both. That same optimism, which I suppose I inherited from my parents, is still with me today. But, it is no longer just Lindsay and me moving forward into the unknown. I have a team of incredible people with a wealth of combined knowledge and talent. On top of this, we live in a community that shares a common thread of values and decency that I believe can transcend this moment in time, along with the many challenges that the coming decade will surely bring.
Thanks to all of you who have been a part of our journey so far. I cherish my relationship with each of you and look forward to continuing to build in this community and together to continue building this community.