Beyond the Build

The Weekend

Racing to Find Time for Work and Family

I cherish every moment I spend with my son and daughters and I encourage the people I work with to find unique ways to connect with their families. It’s increasingly difficult to find those opportunities as the kids get older, so being proactive and creative are paramount. Block off time for your family just as if you were scheduling a meeting or appointment, and hold yourself to the commitment. Treat your family like your best customer.

Here’s a perfect example. Robbie Cather, one of my project managers, and his son Matthew are long time racing fans. Last year, we were building a project in Bristol, Virginia and our paving contractor also happened to be involved in the resurfacing of the NASCAR speedway track a few miles down the road. He invited them up for a weekend of racing. It was a perfect way for Robbie to spend some time with his son, build a relationship with his client, and enjoy racing at the same time.

Robbie and Matthew discovered why droves of people flock to Bristol. It’s the shortest oval track in NASCAR. Instead of the long straight-aways you usually see, these cars are constantly in motion, fighting for every turn and roaring around the small loop. The place is surrounded with high walls of seats that pull spectators into the race. They race at night, illuminating the track with thousands of spotlights like a football game. The Bristol night race is sold out every year with every seat filled.

At the end of the weekend Matthew’s face told the whole story with a big smile on the drive home. You never know when that casual business relationship can provide a truly special opportunity for a family.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.