My Journey as an Engineer, Entrepreneur, & Founder
My Ongoing Journey
My journey started in small town Alabama. I was raised by two amazing parents – my mom was a nightshift nurse and my dad was an electrician. When I graduated high school, I spent a summer hanging fire extinguishers at Amerex Corporation. I had always worked since I was 16, but now I was an assembly line worker. That experience would change me forever.
Auburn University was a great experience. I regret not getting to know more people and getting involved more, but I learned engineering, problem solving, and a hunger to see the world and rise the corporate ladder. I graduated with a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineer in 2000.
When I left college, I had some options. After traveling all over the US, I settled in at Plant Hatch in Vidalia, GA as a Systems Engineer. My role was to work with the welders, the fitters, the labors to keep the BOP (balance of plant) systems running. I didn’t know anything, but learned a lot from those guys and a great boss. After a couple years, I relocated to Atlanta, GA to work as a Systems Engineer at a Belgium company called Bekaert. During these years, I also earned my Master’s Degree in Engineering from the University of Florida and also a minor in business.
In 2007, I co-founded ABUTEC, a Clean Energy startup. Andy and his partner grew ABUTEC from inception to an eventual eight (8) figure exit to a Private Equity firm and then to a strategic player in the Oil & Gas segment. This was an amazing journey of perseverance, fortitude, and building as you go.
After exiting ABUTEC, I acquired ASHCOR alongside a great team. ASHCOR is an Oilfield Service company that we grew and ultimately exited to a strategic buyer in the Oil & Gas industry. Success here was that we grew top line revenue by 2.5X. Huge learning experience for me throughout this venture, as well
In September 2020, I started to figure out that it was much more rewarding to surround myself with great people and help entrepreneurs, business owners, and founders at scale. This was the birth of BlackSmith Ventures (#BSV). The vision for BlackSmith Ventures is grow a private investment and advisory firm operated by an authentic group of driven, ambitious, and experienced leaders.
In our early days, think 2007 timeframe, we would be driving through heartland looking for business partners and we would routinely see what we coined “BlackSmiths on the Corner”.
The phrase “blacksmith on the corner” likely originates from a time when blacksmiths were a common sight in communities, often operating their businesses from a corner location. Blacksmiths were skilled metalworkers who created a variety of metal goods, from household items to horse shoes, using a forge and anvil.
In the days before mass production and industrialization, blacksmiths played a crucial role in their communities, serving as a vital source of goods and services. The phrase “blacksmith on the corner” likely became a popular way of referring to a local blacksmith and his business, due to the prominence and visibility of their location.
Today, I use the phrase to refer to any small, locally-owned business operating in a community, regardless of the specific trade or profession. The phrase evokes a sense of nostalgia for a simpler time, when small businesses and community connections were more prominent.
Being a “smithy” by name, growing up in small town American, and my fondness for the entrepreneur, founder, and business owner led me to Founding BlackSmith Ventures.
Let’s finish on a personal note… In addition to running multiple businesses, I love coaching both girls and boy’s basketball and I exercise almost every day to keep some version of sanity. I didn’t mention it, but I spent about seven (7) years training and participating in half Ironmans, full Ironmans, and triathlons all over the world.
Life is a Journey, not a Destination
I think of the journey like a bicycle and always strive to maintain balance between family, life, and play (i.e. work).
Psalms 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
I use business to make the most impact I can because if we impact one person and they impact another we have created Infinite Impact
We founded BlackSmith Ventures to help entrepreneurs, investors, and business owners grow their business so they can make an Infinite Impact.
We’ve got a lot going on personally and professionally and I’m excited to have you along for the journey. Click the button below to learn more.