Dave Henderson, Sr., affectionately called Granddaddy by both his biological and Henderson, Inc. families, celebrates his 90th birthday this week (July 22, 2011). As a well respected businessman and member of the Williamsburg community, he reflects back on the challenges and successes throughout his life and career and offers some timeless lessons and words of advice. Mr. Henderson made a name for himself by delivering quality work and conducting business with honesty and integrity. These basic principles that guided Mr. Henderson in business and his personal life became the cornerstone and trademark of Henderson, Inc. and are the same core values that every Henderson, Inc. employee strives to exemplify today: Relationships, Integrity, Our People, Quality, and Leadership. Below are Mr. Henderson’s reflections.
Relationships In business and in life, no one can do it alone. Surround yourself with talented people and have confidence in your team. Teamwork is critical for successful projects and lasting client relationships. Take care of your people as if everyone was family. The construction business is hard and it is important to recognize that your employees and their families make sacrifices for work. Acknowledge that fact, respect your employees for it and reward them for their commitment. Times will get tough and it will be your team that helps to pull you through.
Integrity As the construction industry strives to improve time, cost and quality through technology and modern-day management, some long standing ideologies and time-tested wisdom hold true. There will always be challenges and it is how you react, adapt and bring people together that will set you apart. Many of the issues we faced 50 years ago on projects are the same issues the teams run into every day in the field. Integrity is the only way we conduct business – morally, ethically and fairly.
Our People If you ask me what sets Henderson, Inc. apart from anyone else, it is hands down the people. We have a dedicated group of hard working people who take pride in what they do. We are a mixture of family, friends, and colleagues… all working towards a common purpose. My wife Shirley and I were committed to each other and equally committed to all our employees at Henderson, Inc. Shirley was my biggest supporter and one of the main reasons I was able to start and sustain my dream of a construction business. Family, whether work or biological, is your most important asset. Decisions made in life, whether business or personal, should always be founded upon what is best for your family.
Quality Henderson, Inc. was built upon the belief that hard work, done well, would go a long way. 54 years later, I continue to stand by that belief. Do your best every day, do the job right, work with people who share your commitment to quality and your work will speak for itself.
Leadership Over Henderson’s long history, there have been ups and downs for the construction industry. Prudent business decisions are necessary every day, but become especially crucial during tough economic times. Analyze every project for its pitfalls and make wise, thoughtful decisions. Leadership is crucial in every climate but especially so during challenging times. Good leaders use challenging times to better understand themselves, their business, and their industry and use that knowledge to position themselves in a place to grow when the tides change. As I reflect and celebrate 90 happy and healthy years, I can think of a lot of sage advice to offer, but simply put: Work hard and watch the checkbook. And that’s a lesson that’s applicable to everyone, in every business and stage of life.