My Journey to the Family Business

May 04, 2017
Ray Byers Jr

In the beginning

As a young boy, I remember being on the roof with my Dad all the way back to grade school. Like most kids, I spent more energy complaining than I actually did work. I learned the meaning of hard work, not only by watching my Dad and his crew but by running errands, lifting and such. My Dad would have me bring materials up to the roof…I was sure those bundles weighed more than me! As I got older, I would work in the summers. I would work with the crews tearing roofs off—hard, physical labor. I decided I wanted an easier job when I grew up!

Texas

About the time my Dad moved to Nevada County to start his roofing company my Mom and bonus Dad moved just outside of Dallas. Talk about culture shock. The kid from Southern California that skateboards and races BMX moves to what felt like a Western movie. During a high school summer break, I started helping on the roofing crews again, so I could save for my first car. Roofing was hard work for my 125 lbs frame. During that summer, Jeff Fierstein (our GM) found me a car. I had no idea what I wanted or even how much money I had to spend on a car. To my complete surprise, Jeff had found a 1967 Ford Mustang with a V8. This car made it all the way back to Texas with me! So for a few fuel filters and a fresh battery, my summer $800 earning was invested. Wait a minute, I worked all summer and I only made $800? Once back in Texas, I needed fuel and insurance, so I got a job flipping burgers. I did that, worked at a grocery store as a checker, a men’s department store and then I found the job of all jobs…. working for a boat dealership. I was hired on as a porter, keeping the boats clean and fueled up and ready to go. As time went on, the sales team asked me to take the clients on a Demo ride. This was a great way for me to learn how to speak with people and an even better lesson on how to overcome boundaries with knowledge. I stayed in the marine industry for over 10 years and when I left I was the GM of a boat dealership.

What Brought me Back

I really enjoyed my job at the boat dealership, but I saw how much respect my dad gave his team. I really wanted to experience more of that in my work. When I came to work, from the very first day, I was treated like any other employee and needed to prove myself as anyone else would. Thankfully I knew this going in and I had the drive to make my own way.

I have had the opportunity to work in virtually every position in the company and it has really helped me understand the nuances of the different positions and how everyone depends on each other to show up and do the right thing.

I have helped to grow the LeafGuard division, bring back the roofing division, start the Solatube division and also start up the Solar division. We could not have done this without the foundation that my Dad, Jeff, Lance and other key members of the company. From my perspective, this all comes back to the respect and team environment that attracted me back to the family business.

Over the years I have come to realize how fortunate I am to enjoy my work, get along with the team and to have the bonus of working side by side with my Dad and brother. That is pretty darn special. My father never asked any of his kids to join the business or even insinuated that we should take part in the company. I had zero pressure. We are very fortunate to not only have the boss that we have and my brother, sister and I are very fortunate to call him Dad. In Byers Enterprises, he has built a legacy that Cameron and I are happy and proud to carry-on.