Phil Divine: Paving Superintendent & Millionaire Club Member
Welcome to Millionaire Monday! You read that right. In honor of ESOP Month, we wanted to up the ante this October to show you that our ESOP really means business. Meet our employee-owners who, based on their ESOP account balances, are members of the “Millionaires Club.”
Years of Service: 38 years since 1983
Q: Can you walk us through your journey here at ESS?
I started working Summers at ESS while attending college at Mizzou. The first job I worked on was at the Tara Apartments in the Spring of 83’. Eventually, I started full time in the spring of 85’. I worked under Alan Barnes and Pete Grathwohl pouring and paving concrete and alongside Randy (Heavy) Winterhalter at the time.
After a few years, I became leadman and foreman. My days back then had involved pouring and paving, while my nights were often spent sawing until midnight or after. ESS only had one paving crew back then. We had private, residential, commercial, municipal, FAA, and DOT jobs back then as well. I remember the day I got my first work truck, it was a hand me down grey chevy. No phones back then, but we had 2-way radios in the trucks for communication. My first handle number was 4 ½ (HA) between Alan (5) and Pete (4).
I started working for the DOT team in the mid to late 90’s. I went full time on the road with DOT pouring and paving concrete. As we grew, we helped the Kansas City team get going and start up the Springfield branch.
Today, I’m still on the road pouring and paving concrete.
Q: As a veteran employee-owner, what advice would you give to younger employee-owners?
Here are my tips and advice to carry on the ESS way:
To the young, inexperienced men and women, have an extraordinary work ethic. Always be eager, attentive, and observant to gain knowledge. Become self-taught. Be a SPONGE and ASK QUESTIONS!!
To all the seasoned, experienced workers, bring your ways and ideas into the ESS culture. Be a leader and set good examples for inexperienced workers. Be confident in yourself. Most importantly, never waiver from your abilities, workmanship, and productivity. Be the same worker day in, day out and every minute of every day. As my 100-year-old grandma would tell me every time I visited her for the last 58 years, “DO YOUR VERY BEST EVERY DAY! Always with a hug!”
Q: How would you hype up the ESOP?
How about the ESOP! “IT IS THE REAL DEAL PEOPLE!” We, (you, me, every employee-owner) drive the ESOP train every minute of every day. That’s AWESOME.
Q: How do you plan to spend your ESOP money?
The wife and I plan to travel the US and visit the beauty and history of our great Nation.
Can you share a favorite memory from your time with ESS?
Memories? I have thousands of them! There is one that stands out and I’ll never forget it. We had just been awarded the Forum/Nifong project many years ago. Between the Stadium and Woodrail country club, it was just forest. ESS purchased a portable concrete plant, Gomaco 2500, PS 48 spreader for this job. The plant was set up on the North west corner of Nifong/Forum now where D. Rowes and Walgreens are. I heard a rumor that we were going to use dump trucks to haul concrete. I thought at the time, THAT’S CRAZY!
I’ll never forget this day. We backed the 2500 down the windy road, all the way to Hinkson creek. We paved with dump trucks for the first time, all the way to the top that day and got done around 5:30. The feeling everyone had and the look on everyone’s faces, including Billy’s, was unforgettable. Everyone was smiling ear to ear and I remember asking Billy why he was smiling so big and he couldn’t answer me. I said to him; “you’re smiling all the way to the bank, right.” Billy responded; “You betcha, great job today.” That day gave me a sense of accomplishment and pride. It was a new era of paving productivity that I’ll never forget. It was on everyone’s face. We used that plant for the rest of the job and the rest is history!
Give a KUDOS to somebody that was influential in your career:
I have learned from so many people over my 38 years at ESS, and am still learning. My first KUDOS has to go to my family and upbringing.
Early in my career and up to today at ESS, all the old timers were great. All my coworkers from the concrete guys, pipe guys, dirt guys, bridge guys, office personnel etc., have helped me and continue to help me get to where I am today. THANK YOU ALL!
KUDOS to every employee-owner, past and present. What an amazing team of people that has sustained and continued to grow since we bought the company from Billy. Thank you all!
But! My biggest KUDOS goes out to “BILLY SAPP” (pioneer, adventurist, unafraid, gutsy, challenging, wise, smart, courageous, fearless, straight forward, gritty, spunky, resolving, rational, respectful, confident, daring, brave, considerate, reasonable, and thankful), for allowing all of this to be possible.
THANK YOU, BILLY SAPP!!!!!! The first true BLUE BLOOD