Our first year.

I had great fun looking back through old photo albums and picture files as I thought about our history. So many memories came flooding back of projects and people whom we worked with. As I went through the pictures and considered the story I will tell over the next days, a common thread was readily evident. The most obvious was how family members played such a large role in the success of the company. The second thing was how, from the very start, we were always reaching to the edge of our capabilities, both in terms of experience and ability. Each project we tackled through the years raised the bar, often much higher than we were comfortable with. Someone would ask 'Could you build me a _______?' The answer was always YES!. Then we would scramble to figure out how it was even possible. That continues to this day.

Like many successful businesses we started in our garage, which proved to be far too small. Each project had to include a tool budget because we desperately needed them as well. Often we made do and still thrived. We started small. It was like throwing a pebble into a pond. The splash was tiny but the ripple circles spread wide. Word got out and our jobs rapidly grew in complexity and size. 

I drew on my past experience and did both design and fabrication. One of the early projects was the design for the Chemainus Dinner theatre. 

I also did the occasional projects as a  subcontractor for my brother Garry, who was in a similar business. Our first pieces were of wood and plaster. I gained that experience working along side my father growing up.

One of our earliest theme projects built in the basement shop and transported to the worksite was a space ship. The hundred mile trip was a white knuckle experience with two tire blowouts on the way. Our little home built trailer was badly overloaded.

Our first steel and concrete structure was also done in our first year. It was massive, measuring sixty feet wide and almost forty feet tall. We started it with no knowledge or experience of this type of work but gained a lot of valuable information and experience in only thirty days.

After our first year we knew this was the perfect business for us. Anything we could dream up was actually possible. We just had to figure out how. The adventure of a lifetime had begun.

Dan Sawatzky3 Comments