By Bridgett Morales
Six Years ago, I was preparing to take a leap of faith and start my own company with two people whom I trusted and respected deeply - Colin Sheffield and Billy Schilling. In my opinion, they are both the best at what they do and at that time had just enough charisma and determination to sell me on the plan to start our own company. I was already feeling like I needed to make a change, so it was not tough to convince me to leave, but I was nervous about leaving a stable job into the unknown of entrepreneurship. We met to discuss finances, marketing strategies and weighed the pros and cons. We had the obvious concerns… Are we crazy for thinking we can make it work? Do we have the right knowledge and skills to run a business? Can we break into a market that appeared to be untapped – would people buy our services? How long can we live off our savings and pursue this plan before we need to pivot or give up? When would be the right time to lose the safety net of our old jobs and truly become Bloc? By the end of May, we had finalized our decision and Bloc Environmental Solutions was officially born on June 1.
Six Years of building Bloc have made us stronger. Each lesson we have learned has helped us grow. Each client with whom we have partnered has had a tremendous impact on our small company. As I discussed in the blog post “It’s not Business, It’s Personal”, without the 25 years of building relationships prior to starting the company, we may have never gotten off the ground. After pivoting our service lines in 2014, we started picking up work and grew almost by accident that first couple of years. As our clients grew, they gave us more work. Clients recommended us to others, and we grew a little more. We added a fourth partner, Ron Clark at the beginning of 2015 to lead and grow our consulting division of Bloc. With his experience, expertise and working relationships he brought opportunity to the company and has been instrumental in our journey.
Six Years together has been like Billy described in his blog post “Weight of the World” like a roller coaster ride. We’ve had ups and downs. We have celebrated great victories and survived losses both personally and professionally together. Some days we work like a well-oiled machine. Other days we may not see eye to eye on matters. Like any family, we experience highs and lows together. We witness each other’s history. We share a story. We know that if we stay focused on our founding values we will succeed together.
Six Years ago, today was Colin’s daughter’s 9th birthday. She turned 14 today and while I was thinking of how great it is to watch her become this beautiful young woman, I thought back over the last six years. I began to reflect on the sacrifices our families have made while we have built Bloc. How many nights did we say goodnight to our loved ones over the phone or FaceTime? How many birthdays or anniversaries or family events have we missed because we were on the road and trying to grow a successful company? We strive to build our schedules around these events so we can be home for the big stuff, the important stuff. When we do have to miss something special, we remind ourselves that it is for our families that we sacrifice. We want to make things better for them. We want to build something that can benefit them. We want them to be proud of our efforts and sow the fruit of our labor. People say, “if it was easy, everyone would do it”. I think sometimes the people it is toughest on are the ones who love and support us on our journey, but I hope that they understand how much we appreciate and love them back.
Six Years from now, I want to read this post again and reflect on how far we’ve come. Won’t it be nice to celebrate a dozen Bloc years with all the new and old friends that we’ve met along the way. Our lives transform so much, it is hard to imagine where we will be in 2025, but it’s fun to try. Because I know the character of the people of Bloc, I believe that we will be stronger and better. We will continue to learn from our mistakes, build on our successes and treat others with respect and kindness. I think about our employees and how their lives will change. Personally, I imagine Billy’s daughters growing into beautiful young ladies and making their parents even crazier with all their activities in middle and high school. I picture Colin’s family as his kids get married and I imagine his grandbabies that he’ll spoil and make giggle after waiting (not-so-patiently) for them. I think of Ron’s sweet daughter who will be a teenager by then, and I hope she uses the lessons he’s teaching her now to make her kind and strong then. I imagine my own family and how fast my grandchildren (who are the BEST!) are growing. The oldest is 6 and the youngest are 2 week old twins – so six years for them will be significant.
Six Years from now, where we will be is not entirely within our control, but if we stay true to our founding principles, I believe that Bloc will be Proud of our accomplishments, Stronger as a company, Wiser as a management team and Better for the relationships we have built.