Ironic as it may be – “This page is under construction!”
The earliest time that I can remember where I truly fell in love with construction is back on our family farm. It really started after a tornado had just wiped out the small town of Miltona in Minnesota. It was 7:02 p.m. July 18, 1970 a Saturday evening. The fire siren went off, and my father and I where standing on a pile of ashes watching the tornado turn from a beautiful white to death black in a matter of seconds. We had just lost our barn to a barn fire the night before. My father kept his composure and was telling me his dream of how it was going to be rebuilt. I loved hearing his dream. It was going to be a beautiful barn. As it turned out, it was a beautiful barn. We milked many cows in that barn. We went from a small dairy hurd of about 7 cows back then all the way up to 80 head of the finest holstein hurds in the area. So, as for the story on the tornado, we got our family together and loaded up in the pickup truck and started to drive to Miltona to see if we could offer any immediate help. My father had one of the first phones I know of in his pickup truck and he was calling for help. It was a mess when we arrived. Anyway, a crew showed up not much after the tornado and started to build my fathers dream. As a 10 year old, this was so exciting for me.
Then, just two years later family home burned down after we had spend a full year remodeling this old historic farm home. My father and I had just finished putting the door knobs on his bedroom door that night and it went up in flames on December 7th, 1972 at about 12:15 am. Then dad did it again, told me how he was going to rebuild and what a wonderful home it would be. This was the start of my construction career.
After we finshed our home on that little 168 acre farm in Carlos, Minnesota we packed up and moved after my brothers went off to school and my sister was in the Marines. We moved to my fathers hometown, of Wessington, SD. While basically, visiting on our way to Moses Lake Oregon which was suppose to be our real destination. We parked our 5th wheel camper trailer next to this old building down town on Main St. We made that our temperary camping spot for the summer. Then dad, oh dad, ended up buying this huge two story building and thought he could turn it into something. First he thought he could use it in his trucking business as a warehouse for cold storage between the westcoast and midwest. One day, he started dreaming… Oh, boy I thought, here we go agian. As we sat there in the is old building dreaming of what we could do, somehow he got me involved in his dreams now. Well, the first night it was just him and I, then one of his buddies stopped in, Roger Seargent. Dad, poured himself and Roger a fresh drink, yes, a couple of whiskey’s. Dad, was really good at pulling people in and helping him create a vision. The next night, a little bit larger group showed up of dad’s friends and as we all sat their my dad out of the blue, said we’re going to build a Super Club and Bar. That was the start of “The Fireside Supper Club”. Throughout, my first year as a Junior in Wessington High School, between football, basketball and track I was designing and building the towns newest business. Funny, thing I became the cook too! Boy, those where early days of my construction career and I sure loved them. The smell of cut wood and the noice of skill saws still make me smile. After I finished high school I joined the U.S. Army as an Architectural Draftsman. Then off I went to boot camp; Ft. Dix, NJ.
I receive my real start in construction and construction managment/supervision when I served in the US Army and also received an honorable discharge in 1983, after serving as an engineer construction supervisor and architectural draftsman attached to Staff Engineers at an experimental base in California called Ft. Hunter Liggett. My military career projects consisted of designing the test track for the Humvee, M1A1 Abrams Tank, and assisted on several other projects that lead to the approval and manufacture of the Hellfire Missile, Blackhawk helicopter, and the Bradley Fighting Vehicle and I served as the NCOIC of the Battalion Color Guard.
Upon completion of my military career I returned to Rapid City, SD where my father and I joined up again as partners in Prentice Real Estate and Builders Ltd. (These may have been the best years of my life.) to be continued…