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During January, the Equipment World editorial team spreads out across the country to interview the 12 finalists for our Contractor of the Year program. Since we’ve chosen them through a meticulous vetting process, you can imagine we’ll come back with some pretty good stories from the class of 2013, all of which run in the magazine and on the website starting in May. It’s an excellent class this year, and there’s certainly no shortage of interesting people.
That’s why I was excited last week to head to Bossier City, Louisiana, to meet Chris Fink. I suspected that Chris, the owner of Dale’s Paving, might do a bit more than paving, and I was right. He, with the help of his amazing wife, Tracey, has diversified the company in ways his father Dale might never have considered.
His father laid a solid foundation for the company, developing an impeccable reputation and sticking to a narrow scope of work that he excelled in. As Chris took over the leadership of the company, he had a vision of expanding into markets his father wouldn’t traditionally have been interested in pursuing. Gone were the days when the company wouldn’t even branch out into concrete.
I knew Chris would be interesting when he told me to meet him at River Cities Express Car Wash, a second business he owns. Why would a paving contractor own a car wash? Although you can’t see an immediate connection, almost everything he does professionally is a result of either his dad’s (or granddad’s) influence or an offshoot of his business.
It turns out, Chris has performed all the maintenance and repair work for a number of car washes in Bossier City, and he thought he could run one just as well as the next guy. He built the car wash from the ground up, and today it’s a slick, professional operation that complements his contracting business.
When we visited the Finks’ home, well, he built that, too. Oh, and a few other houses in the neighborhood, also. It became clear that Chris will take on any challenge that intrigues him.
After spending the day with Chris and Tracey, I found it tempting to peg him as an overachiever. He began working with his dad as a young teenager, joined the volunteer fire department at 16, sits on a wide variety of boards, associations and councils, and even coaches a youth football team, which naturally went undefeated in 2012 and won the Bossier Bowl.
It’s not a desire to be an overachiever, though; it’s merely that trait you see with many contractors – a high level of drive combined with a deep passion for giving back. Be sure and look for the article on Chris in an upcoming issue. As for me, I can’t wait to see what the Finks do next.