I'll begin this blog with a little history on how the decision was made to choose Abq. I'll post some photo's of the journey along the way. Hopefully my words will weave an interesting journey that will compel others to jump in and share their stories of change and pursuit of their goals.
I have been living in Georgia since 1988. There was two other times I had lived briefly in other states. Texas & Colorado. Both states captured my imagination and planted a seed that would ultimately move me again westward to Abq. Throughout the years our family vacations would always be out west. In those days I was a single parent raising my only daughter Dakota. I've always told my daughter someday I would be out west. Her response has always been, "move to Santa Monica and I'll join you."
Mind you raising a family and being the only bread winner, most of us don't roll the dice and take huge chances and upset what has become our bread & butter and move off. We as a family were connected here. Lived in this home 10 years now. My daughter with her classmates and school, our church, some family members. It had become real comfortable earning a living and doing whats right by keeping roots deep for the sake of my daughter. I'm not making any excuses my daughter caused me to set anchor here. I will say some people love adventure, travel, and can fit in and adapt anywhere. I'm one of those people. My daughter is not. Life with her living here was a blessing and I'm proud to admit I enjoyed this life with her in Georgia.
Fast forward to her 18th year and she is now ready to go to college here locally, but wanted to share an apartment with her girlfriends. A year and a half later I'm proud of her accomplishments as well as finding her independence. Other than her car insurance, tuition & books, and her cell phone she has paid for the rest of her needs on her own. I was fortunate enough to have paid her car off before the economy took a nose dive.
I had put off even thinking seriously of moving for so long I wasn't even sure if would ever happen. The last five years was on a roll and life was real good. I am licensed as a Real Estate agent and business has been good. I was offered a management position through a friends referral, I spouted off a crazy salary and terms that I didn't think would be taken seriously. Low & behold the call came through and now I was drawing an incredible salary working in the grading and underground utility business solely for commercial development.
The days became fast paced and chasing the numbers in sales was a rush. Money was so good we could afford to overlook the small losses because bigger gains commanded your attention. The economy started to turn in Nov of 2007. We had hit a serious lull in contracts and committed work. My natural instinct was to begin the cutbacks to at least match what we had coming in to what was going out. The owners overrode my decision and by the end of March 2008 we had started so fast with sales it was a company 10 year record and if it could sustain we'd have a banner year to boot.
We watched as countless residential contractors began to fold. The rainbow for us is that commercial is driven by a different drum and is historically a much stronger market and can take larger economic hits. What we didn't count on these residential guys need to eat to. They would now be competing for our contracts. The problem became there is a huge difference in residential and commercial work. Everything from codes, standards, permitting, environmental, the list is vast and wide. If you don't know it you could miss it while bidding. The residential guys missed it and they were bidding jobs to low to compete. Our sales faltered and now we watched countless other commercial graders close their doors. We managed to eek out a buck or two coming in and fixing jobs that were not bid or constructed right. I think a lot of those guys just bid low anyway to have cash flow hoping the days of feasting would return. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was not anywhere I thought we'd end up.
When October rolled in the Atlanta market was all but crashed. It was as though Sherman had raided and burned the city again. It was and still is completely wrecked. Everybody became a developer in the tail end of the hey days. Banks took the hit. Georgia has the most failed banks in the country. Georgia has not hit bottom yet. There is so much inventory standing empty and so much more that is developed just waiting for the brick and mortar. If I had more money I'd buy up as much as I could. It's the payments you'd have to make that scare me in this market. So many are loosing their jobs, so many reported on the news that will, I.E. Lockheed Martin and 2,000 more. As of June our unemployment rate was 10.5%.
Well in June I was released of my position via an email. Talk about Wow! I knew it was coming and I questioned the owners "how are we making it?" We had gone from 75 employees and 70 pieces of heavy equipment down to 18 employees and 48 pieces of equipment. From the good days of managing $750,000 a month of cash coming in to less than 60,000. That was about our monthly payments not including labor, fuel, materials, etc, etc. Just the fact I received an email about 9:30pm Thursday telling me Friday to only arrive and pick up my check from box...and please leave my key, phone, laptop, and any other company property.
Here I am the end of July and packing to move...stay with me and I'll lay out how Abq became the only choice for making our new home...