What a year! When 2018 began, BuildWitt was nothing ― no company, no revenue, no clients. All we had were a few followers on social media enjoying photographs for fun.
In October 2017, I moved from managing road construction in Fort Worth, Texas, to a promising job in Houston with lots of potential impact across the construction industry. Turns out it was different than I expected. I was miserable. I didn’t belong in a 9-to-5 office job, and I couldn’t do things my way.
In February, I drove to the office on a typical Tuesday morning, prepared for another day of unhappiness. Around midday, I made the abrupt decision to quit. I didn’t know I was going to quit when I woke up that day, but I didn’t hesitate either. Did I have a plan or something else to fall back on? Absolutely not. I had no idea what I was doing. The best part is that I still don’t.
I moved back to Phoenix, Arizona, three days later. I packed up my entire house, cashed my last paycheck, and drove home through the night. At face value, I gave up an extremely pleasant life and exchanged it for a load of uncertainty.
Everything I owned went into storage, and I moved in with my dad. My “plan” was to start a media company ― BuildWitt Media Group ― dedicated to telling the story American construction and mining deserves. I had no marketing education, no investors, and no real resources. But what I did have was a love for dirt, a camera, an absurd amount of ignorance, and no one in my life telling me I was dumb. Well… almost no one!
I hit the road, traveling across the country (18 states and a lot of windshield/airplane time) to find modern construction and mining companies that desired to rise above the status quo plaguing the industry. Little by little, we made progress. I still don’t know why, but a few incredible companies trusted us with their story, even when we had absolutely no data to substantiate our claims. Turner Mining Group, LB3 Enterprises, Graniterock, RAWSO Constructors, and Thompson Pipe Group were among the first, and I couldn’t be more thankful for their blind trust.
As more companies came on board, I found other people who knew what they were doing to help us out. We’ve always had the purest intentions and the desire for the highest quality possible. We’ve said yes to anything and everything. Websites? Sure. Videos? Why not. We had no idea how to do any of these projects, but we’ve figured it out.
Celebrating wins is something I struggle with, but all in all, it was a damn good year. More than a few people have new jobs thanks to our work. We’ve developed five websites from scratch, all of which are examples for the rest of the industry to follow. Our content is consistently generating millions of views weekly online. We recently completed one of the coolest overview videos I’ve ever seen that’ll be promoted during the AGG1 conference. I’ve had countless articles and photographs published in trade magazines and by the biggest trade groups in the industry. We even recently signed a contract with the largest materials company in the US!
We’ve had our fair share of setbacks too. Starting a business is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It’s pushed me far beyond my limits and has forced me to mature well beyond my 23 years of age. Companies have fired us. Lonely nights on the road are an almost weekly occurrence for me. Personal relationships of mine have suffered. There are many days where I want to drop it all and load trucks in an excavator full-time. That’s not my purpose, but it’s a lovely thought.
For as uncertain as 2018 was, we’re going into 2019 strong. We have a fantastic group of clients who want to change the industry for the better, along with an awesome team of individuals who keep BuildWitt running, and millions of folks online around the world who love our work. The old bulls of construction and mining are a dying breed. We’re here to show everyone the new way of doing business and treating people for decades to come.
I’ve met hundreds of new people this year ― more than any other year of my life ― all salt of the earth people who keep their heads down and work hard. The blue-collar world is chock full of great humans, and I’m thrilled to call this world my home. I’m an obvious outlier when I’m running around a mine with a camera, but I’ve learned to embrace humility and make it all about the operation, the people, and the company I’m visiting on any given trip. Big equipment is exciting at the moment, but my experiences with the people I meet are the ones that stay with me.
The best part of BuildWitt? It’s worthwhile and fulfilling work. Grown adults regularly come up to me on job sites and say that they’re there because of BuildWitt. It’s surreal. Thanks to an image or two of ours online, they’ve stumbled into new careers that they love, and that enable them to feed their families. My goal is to eventually have this effect on thousands of people. It’s the best feeling in the world ― so much greater than just cashing a paycheck.
Lastly, I’m thankful. I’m thankful for you who stops by every once in a while to see what I’m up to and to enjoy a dirt picture or three. I’m thankful for our clients who trust us, and for the people I deal with weekly at each company. I’m thankful for all the people beyond me who make BuildWitt great. And I’m thankful for the construction and mining industries themselves. They keep the world moving forward and stay above society’s nonsense.
Life’s good. I’m right where I should be. Thanks again for your support ― because of you, there’s a lot more dirt to come in the new year!