We’re about to celebrate 25 years of business this weekend for Cal Engineering & Geology. When our oldest (Gus) was maybe a 6 mos old, we lived in an apartment in Walnut Creek close to where my husband was working. His soon to be partner had left that company, came over to talk to my husband about it, and from there my husband gave his 2 weeks notice to start their own business.
I had saved enough to stay home with Gus for a year and was working on getting a teaching credential to have a similar schedule when I went back to work. Instead, we used that money to get by for a few months of no salary. We were totally out of debt, we owned crappy cars, I figured what’s the worst that could happen? We’d either move back to Manhattan Beach with my mom or his parents owned a few houses. We also had a VW Westfalia and I said we could live in the car. We were pretty mobile since we didn’t own a house.
It turned out well, I still kept going to school until it was clear I wouldn’t have to work (for money). At the end of getting a teaching credential, I would have to pay for school, student teaching and full time child care. We did the math, deciding it was better if I just stayed home with the kids to focus on one career. I passed up my mom and grandmothers profession, really though, I would have made a lousy teacher.
His business has done well, his partner retired a few years ago. Some of the engineers have been with him for at least a decade, it’s a low turnover. One thing that’s been really cool is that he’s been able to hire some of Gus’s friends. One of his friends is now in Humboldt studying to be a geologist after working there. I just trained another friend to fly the drones and he just got his Part 107. Last month, I flew up to Humboldt and took the one friend to dinner.
Our boys aren’t engineers or geologists, I doubt they’ll take it over from here. We’ve always stayed pretty conservative with spending, so when the economy tanked there were no lay offs. It’s been ideal for a lot of reasons, right in between the kids schools as they grew up. Primo parking for downtown Walnut Creek, I park there all the time and just walk across the street to lunch or shopping (mostly my daily latte).
Hard to believe 25 years has gone by? REALLY hard to believe some of the engineers he hired in their 20’s are now busy with their families. We’ve done ski leases in Tahoe for them, other family perks. Not sure, since I’m not involved with daily operations (for good reason, we’ve both worked for mom & pop companies where the wife wasn’t qualified) but it seems as if he’s been very accommodating to the guys putting their families as a priority too. Lots of weddings, lots of kids now.
The pic is our boys, BF (before Frank) opening boxes to set up their first office.
Time for me to get ready for a VERY busy weekend!