What happens when your coworkers discover you have an extremely cool hobby outside of work? Well, typically nothing but at Emery Sapp & Sons (ESS) we give you a spotlight for it 😎 When we got word that employee-owner, Brayden Kelly spends his nights steer roping and winning competitions on the weekends, we had to know more. Hold onto the reins because you’re about to get roped into this cool employee-owner story.
If you’ve been digging through the ESS news for a while, then by now you should know that our employee-owners work hard and play hard. Productivity is important to us, but culture is truly where the rubber meets the road. Our company cares about your career goals and passions, and we also understand the value of personal interests outside of your role here at ESS.
That’s where stories like this come in. Brayden Kelly is a Construction Manager with our Department of Transportation (DOT) team at ESS. When he’s not overseeing our highway projects, you can find him under the arena lights practicing at his Columbia home. What does a steer roping hobby and a construction career at ESS have in common? They’re both team based. In fact, Brayden enjoys steer roping most when he gets to spend that time with his older brother, Garrett. See the sibling team in action below!
The duo has been riding horses all their lives and practice almost every night together. Competing in rodeo events all over the Midwest and earning rewards along the way sounds like a pretty neat side-gig to us. “You need to have something that lets you take your mind off everything else. I love the team aspect of it and getting to spend time with my brother. Being outside is what we’re used to and we wouldn’t want to spend our time doing anything else.”
Much like steer roping, Brayden has a passion for his career. Get ready for this wild ride. He began his journey at ESS as an intern during his sophomore year of college. For 3 years, he gained expertise from our leaders in the project management and survey worlds. Soon after, he came on full-time as an employee-owner and we certainly think he made the right decision! Brayden was an operator and laborer in the field for quite some time before he moved into his current position, construction manager with our DOT team.
“Last year I had the pleasure of working with our crews on the I-70 & I-435 Interchange project, which was awesome. I really enjoy the people I work with everyday, from office to field folks, everyone is extremely easy to get along with. They’re willing to teach me things to do better at my role. The construction environment in general is definitely somewhere I belong since I grew up in it,” Brayden shared.
Garrett Kelly, Brayden’s older brother shared his own take on their hobby together and how it’s shaped them over the years. “Our grandpa got us into horses at a young age and eventually a local friend showed us roping. Fast forward 10-12 years later and we’re practicing most evenings now and competing in events. I love that it’s a team event and something that we can do well at together. In order to win, a team needs to score the fastest time. My favorite memory of us is winning second place at Pilot Grove Rodeo last year.”
Garrett owns his own excavating company and understands what it takes to be in this industry. “It’s awesome that Emery Sapp supports him in both his career and his personal interests. I know it’s extremely important to him to have that flexibility to do what he loves. ESS gives him the opportunity to do both. I’m happy I get to watch Brayden thrive as a construction manager and a roper.” You know what they say, brothers know best.