Ken Brown, a great builder in our area as well as a good friend passed away last weekend very suddenly…and tragically. This was a great southern man who was well respected in the community and truly and simply will be sorely missed by many. I spoke to him almost every day and cannot quite yet fathom not getting his early morning phone calls asking me “weeeelll,whaddddaaaaa youuuu doinnnnn “…to which I always responded, “Nothing but picking my nose and counting my millions…how about you?” This was our banter into a typical conversation with him working his way into asking me A) where are my cabinet guys today?? B) do you have that bid ready for me yet? or C) heard any dirt on the streets?. Then we might launch into a conversation about crazy clients, crazy cabinetmakers, or the crazy business we both found our way into. Sometimes, he might catch me when I was lamenting the parental nightmares of being mom to teens…and he would always have some good stories from his own teen parenting experiences. Or, we might just shoot the bull for a bit about nothing in particular.
Now mind you, on a work day I typically spend zero time chit chatting about much of anything. But with this special guy, he moved at a pace slower than mine and somehow he made you slow down on the path and walk in step with him…if even for just a few minutes on the phone. I always liked that about him. He could actually slow me down. And he always made me laugh about some silly thing.
The truth be told, this builder extraordinaire, took a chance on me years and years ago. The client wanted me on the job so he welcomed me…..mostly. I had to prove myself to him but once I did, he was one of my biggest supporters and that really meant something to me….especially in the south where the “little women” don’t always garner the same respect in the construction industry. I always maintained that the guy was smart. He recognized that I wanted to please not only my client but also him and earn his respect and I took darn good care of what was important to him on a job. But, really, he was confident in his role and his expertise and never felt threatened by anyone else and this allowed him to utilize the talent around him without worrying someone would upstage him. He always talked about our “team” and how we all worked together for the benefit of the client. If someone asked my opinion on his skills as a seasoned contractor, I would always reply with the same thing. “He is a “can do” guy. He does what it takes to get the job done and make the client happy.” Now, he might have laughed later at some of my crazy ideas but he always said “Let’s do it.
Last Saturday, we lost one of the best, brightest and finest. He helped shape my business as well as being a friend. My heart hurts for his family and I will miss him.