My grandfather started Robert Haines Co. in 1937 on more than just stone, brick mortar and concrete, but a foundation of family and hard work that continues three generations later.
Still experiencing the Great Depression, my grandpa and his brothers did anything they could to make a living — mostly masonry restoration and tuckpointing, chimney repair and window work.
Then they got the next generation involved. My dad, Fred Pridgen, began working for his father-in-law here in 1960 and he still hasn’t actually left for good. If you visit our office during the summer, there’s a decent chance you’ll see him out on the lawnmower. He cuts the grass once or twice a week and sends me a bill. I’ll offer to take him to lunch, but it’s always, ‘I don’t have time, I’ve got to get this grass cut.’ He’s still a quintessential workaholic.
He’s always been that way. When my brothers Brad and Tom and I were kids, dad would take us to work with him on the weekends or when we were out of school. We really didn’t do sports when we were younger, instead our dad taught us how to work.
When I got out of high school, my dad bought me a suitcase and bucket of tools. It was either get out or go to work and I’ve been here ever since. When I was in high school I worked at a gas station for two weeks and helped on my grandfather’s farm, but otherwise this is all I’ve known.
And now just like our dad did before us, my brothers and I have dragged the next generation into the family business. My daughter Katlin, Brad’s sons Jaron, Jace and James, and Todd’s sons Cameron and Aaron have all come on board and joined us.
What’s funny is my brothers and I wouldn’t call ourselves that close of a family — probably because we work together every day. And when we do get together outside of the office, we talk about work. We’ll go to Christmas dinner and my dad just wants to hear about what’s going on here.
Outside of our family, there are three more sets of fathers and sons working here at Robert Haines Co., too. We do run this place like a family business — there isn’t much of a formal corporate-structure style around here, but the company has grown and succeeded thanks to the great role models we’ve had with fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who worked hard and passed that mentality along our branches of the family tree.
People in my family, and the rest of the family and team here at the company, we live to work. A lot of people only work to live. We might be kind of flawed, crazy people in that way, but that’s all we know and it’s how this company’s been run since day one.
When you work with Robert Haines Co., our family’s reputation and legacy guarantees a crew of talented, dedicated and hard-working professionals will make your job a priority. Let me know how we can help you and your building.