In 2008, a heavy equipment operator position here at Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS) fell into the lap of now long-time employee-owner, Chris Everman. Some employee-owners might know him best as “Cookie”. Traveling in between Arkansas and Kansas, Chris spends most of his time with our highway paving crews. A few years ago, he decided to take his position one step further. Although outside of ESS’ wheelhouse, Chris doubles as a ham radio operator in his free time. It’s not a 15-thousand-pound backhoe but we think it’s just as cool. 📻
Ham radio. What the heck is it? Get ready because we’re about to push play. In a nutshell, ham radio is a popular hobby that brings people, electronics and communication together. In Chris’ words, “it’s basically an amateur radio station where you have amusing and casual conversations with strangers.” Don’t worry. According to Chris, safety is just as prevalent here as it is on the job site. Much like your typical operator at ESS, you need some sort of certification to do what they do. We don’t let just anybody operate an excavator over here! To pursue this hobby, Chris studied to pass an exam and received a license allowing him to hop on certain radio frequencies. The license ultimately prevents those not allowed to be on there from ruining all the fun. Phew.
So why ham radio, Chris? “It’s very entertaining. I’ve always had radios and now have one in the truck and one at the house the size of a shoebox. You never know who you’ll get a hold of. There are quite a few characters on there. It’s nice because you can strike up a conversation with almost anybody, but you can also simply just listen in if you don’t feel like talking.”
If you were thinking, Chris must have some cool stories talking to people on this shoebox thing, you guessed right. There’s a group of locals that hop on every morning to talk to Chris. On several occasions, he’s spoken with a man named Steve all the way in New Zealand and has even shared a conversation with the international space station. So, Chris…when were you planning on telling us if aliens are real or not?!
You can imagine how his role at ESS is congruent with his hobbies. His radio operating lifestyle mirrors the kind of culture you’d experience here at ESS. “Similar to ham, I really enjoy the people I work with. Every day is new at Emery Sapp and it’s awesome seeing how much we’ve grown as a company. When I started, we only had about 200 people! There’s a lot of us still around, you really get to know everybody and become a family.”
Hello, is anyone still there? Well, we certainly hope so. If you’re still reading and listening to this unique story, there’s more to this operator than you think. We discovered that Chris is basically a one-man band. When he’s not paving concrete across the country and talking to randoms on the radio, Chris is rocking out with his guitar, piano and harmonica skills. For over 13 years, he’s been filling our ears with classic rock in a local band called the Missouri Bounty Hunters. You can catch his greatness at the neighborhood dive bars every now and then. He even has his own recording studio in his living room.
How Chris has the bandwidth for all these hobbies is a mystery to us but it’s nonetheless impressive. Chris Everman is an operator in every sense of the word and as an employee-owner at ESS, we salute him for pursuing the things he enjoys. Stay plugged in and keep rockin’ out, Chris!