Leaving A Legacy: Employee-Owner Spotlight on Daniel Blades

Sarah Brown | Tuesday April 6, 2021

Leaving A Legacy: Employee-Owner Spotlight on Daniel Blades

Sarah Brown | Tuesday April 6, 2021

The word “legacy” can mean a lot of different things to different people. At Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS), legacy is just another way of saying, “you will always belong here.” No matter how you establish your legacy, working hard pays off at ESS. Ultimately, you reap some serious benefits at the end of your career and take what you earned with you. It’s a long road to get there, but being a part of a big family that supports you makes the journey all worthwhile.

Congratulations to long-time employee-owner Daniel Blades on his retirement! With more than 34 years of service as a truck driver, Daniel turned in his keys to start a new chapter in life.

Let’s start from the beginning, shall we. Daniels’ journey began about 50 years ago in Strafford, Missouri. After graduating high school at 18 years old with no particular direction in mind, Daniel went into the workforce right away. Through a personal connection in the construction industry, he got his foot in the door and discovered a passion for machinery. What originally started as an undefined path for Daniel would quickly become a long and meaningful career ahead.

Daniel Blades built the foundation of his career as an equipment driver with Kennedy Contractors. He officially joined our team when Kennedy Contractors became a part of the ESS family in 2008. Combining his years of service from Kennedy and his extensive time behind the big wheels at ESS, Daniel has been an integral part of this family for more than 34 years.

As a driver for ESS, Daniel was a key part in maintaining the momentum of quality project delivery. Transporting heavy equipment from job-to-job has always been viewed as a critical function to ESS’ success. For Daniel, that notion rang especially true. “I don’t like to stay in one place. For me, being mobile on the job and out in the open is what I truly enjoy. And I like knowing that I’m adding value to the company and helping out where I can. Maybe it’s as simple as, ‘I just like driving trucks’.”

JP Compton, Equipment Manager for ESS knows first hand the kind of employee-owner Daniel has become. “It’s been an absolute pleasure working alongside Daniel Blades all these years. He’s the best guy and I’m proud of him. If he gets bored in retirement and wants to keep working, I’d be happy to have him stay. He’s been such a resource to all of us.”

After clocking more than a million miles driven, Daniel officially retired on Wednesday, Mar 31. He leaves behind a legacy like no other. And might we add, with an ESOP account like no other too. If you’re new here, the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) is an elite benefit that provides employee-owners with the opportunity to build monetary value throughout their careers and take a hefty nest egg with them after retirement. As a 100% employee-owned company, our pride of ownership and entrepreneurial spirit drives our stock performance. It’s perhaps why Daniel is very excited to retire!

When asked how he’ll spend his ESOP money, Daniel seemed conflicted. “I mean, I don’t really plan to spend it,” he laughs. “I want it to keep growing! It’s that amazing and rewarding to me to see where it’s taken me and ended up after all these years.”

Although he plans to keep saving, Daniel shared that he and his wife look forward to more traveling possibilities together and getting overdue home projects done in retirement. “We’re thinking about buying an RV trailer to go anywhere and everywhere. It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. We’re excited about having to be nowhere at no certain time.”

Daniel’s last day at ESS was spent enjoying some BBQ in the Springfield shop with friends and family. Funny memories and farewells were shared. Little did he know, we weren’t sending him on his way empty handed. Daniel has made such an impact on this company and the employee-owners alongside him. He was surprised with a 3-day trip and tickets to the National Hot Rod Association racing events in Topeka, Kansas. You earned it, Daniel!

“This was an excellent experience. ESS is well-run and makes a long career an enjoyable one. I wish I had hooked up with ESS earlier in my life. It’s just an amazing bunch of people to work with and I’m impressed with the work ethic here. Not many places have that and it’s something special.” – Daniel Blades

 

Daniel (far right) pictured with his colleagues from Kennedy Contractors that have been with him since day 1.

 

Springfield guys’ get together to celebrate Daniel’s last day.

 

Pictured above, Daniel Blades and family. (Left to right) Daniels Daughter, Nicole, Daniel’s wife of 50 years, Rita, and their Granddaughter, Abby.

 

Daniel in his red truck that he drove for over 34 years. He called it “Old Pete.”

 

The truck that Daniel built himself about 5 years ago.

 

Ron Mann (Left) and Daniel Blades hugging before he hauled off his last load.

 

JP Compton (right) with his long-time pal, Daniel.