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Home | AUSTIN | Spotlight | Spotlight - Ronnie Garcia Sr. and Ronnie Garcia Jr., Ace Sandblasting and Restoration.

Spotlight - Ronnie Garcia Sr. and Ronnie Garcia Jr., Ace Sandblasting and Restoration.

image Ronnie Garcia Sr., Owner/Head Estimator, Ronnie Garcia Jr., Ace Sandblasting and Restoration. Austin, TX

AUSTIN - For Ronnie Garcia Sr., the sun of sand-blasting and restoration rose and set on his beloved father. Everything Ronnie Sr. knows about the trade, he learned from his dad. As owner of his father’s company, Ace Sandblasting and Restoration, Ronnie Sr. is now taking the same care to impart all of the industry’s lessons to his own son, Ronnie Garcia Jr.

 

 

 

Ronnie Sr., how were you introduced to this industry?
Ronnie Sr.: My father, Navell Garcia Sr., started this business, Ace Sandblasting and Restoration, in Austin in 1974. We came from a family of seven so he started this company to make some extra money on the weekends and it grew exponentially from there.
    When I was 14 years old, my four brothers and I started working in the business to help Dad make ends meet. We didn’t mind; we played a lot of the way! We were really close, we loved each other, we loved Mom and Dad, so it didn’t bother us helping Dad out whenever he needed it.
    Dad was our professor as the years went by; he taught us and coached us along the way on how to do things the correct way. He taught us the trade from the ground up and the lessons you couldn’t learn in school. We just jumped in there and did what he asked and we met a lot of people along the way. It was a great experience.

As you grew up, what path did you take?
Ronnie Sr.: I studied business at Austin Community College and I started learning that work is everything. I missed the fast pace of working when I was going to school, and I kept thinking about how I could be making money.
    Then, Dad started getting ill, and I knew my responsibility was to be with the family, so I inherited his business in 1989, with my brothers helping me out. I knew it was time, and Dad knew it. He saw it coming and he said we could do it, since we had done it all of our lives. There was nothing we hadn’t seen or done.
    Also, he was there if we needed him. Some of the contractors we dealt with were old fashioned and only wanted to deal with an older gentleman, so my dad would go in there, take over and wrap it up! He liked to do that, and that made it easy for us.
    Sadly, my father’s health did not improve, but he loved to see us work. He was always interested in it no matter what was going on with him. He always had his hand in it until he passed.

Was your father right? Were you ready to run the company?
Ronnie Sr.: Yes, he was right. We were questioning ourselves, but he would say, what are you worrying about? You know this!  He knew it all along.
    The company has always provided for us; we’ve always had work. But the economy was taking a roller coaster ride when I took over. A lot of companies we dealt with quit or went under, so we had to go out there and make new contacts. Meeting new companies and getting them to trust us was the hardest part. We’re lucky to have had repeat customers backing us up all of these years. What helped us most was expanding our service area; we used to service Austin, and now we service the surrounding areas within a 150-mile radius. We’re happy to go to the customers and cater to them.

What advice from your dad do you still take to heart when running the company?
Ronnie Sr.: My dad always used to talk about safety. He would constantly talk about being careful with the machines and the other people around us. He was very cautious with my brothers and me – especially when we were teenagers – because we wanted to finish things in a hurry and go home or go to concerts! When you’re dealing with high-pressure machines, sand, equipment and people around you, you have to be cautious. He stressed that on every project we did. That sticks with me and carries over to our guys now. That’s the most important thing there is, since accidents are always waiting to happen.

Tell me about your employees and your managerial style.
Ronnie Sr.: We have 10 employees, and I try to keep it a family-type environment. I think they would describe me as caring but strict. We spoil them though. We do things for them and their families, such as hosting a big holiday dinner for everyone and giving them extra bonuses if they complete jobs on time or early. We also do a lot of personal things for them on a case-by-case basis.

Do you think you will stay in the sand-blasting and restoration industry?
Ronnie Sr.: I don’t think I’ll ever retire. I would like to think its in my blood and family. It’s in my son, Ronnie Jr., as well. He’s going to college and he still comes around and helps us out. Even though he eventually might have a career in something else, he still comes to help. It’s always going to be there. Sandblasting has never, never failed our family. It’s always been here, even in the hardest times.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working?

Ronnie Sr.: In my free time, I enjoy spending time with Ronnie Jr.
Ronnie, Jr.: We do spend a lot of time together; I love spending time with my dad. He’s a family man. When we’re not watching Texas football games, we’re usually doing something together, like barbecuing. We’re on the road, usually going to San Marcos because that’s where I’m currently going to college.  Right now, we’re restoring a jet black 1967 Chevy Impala.
Ronnie Sr.: We do spend a lot of time together, which we like, and we find ways to spend time together. This Impala has done that. We spend a lot of time taking it apart and are really bonding over it.

Ronnie Jr., What is it like to work with your dad and how have you grown in this role?
Ronnie Jr.: I’m working as a project manager as my schedule allows and it’s amazing to work with him. My dad is like a mentor, a counselor. He teaches me things on the job sites, things that help me in real life. It’s like being an intern but it’s also like running a business because it’s experience I can’t get from class. I get to go to different places all around Texas and am building my credentials as I’m learning from him.
    We are a mobile sandblasting company so we cater to our customers and go to their location. We travel within a 150-mile radius from Austin; sometimes even farther to be honest, so the things we get to see while we work are pretty awesome. We have sandblasted almost everything; from large buildings, houses and equipment to smaller items, anything people need blasted – industrial, commercial, residential – we can get it done, but you still never know what someone will bring in.
    I’ve learned so much. I remember as a kid I used to be scared to talk to people; now it seems like I’m pretty outgoing. I’m never scared to let people know that, even though I’m young, I know what I’m talking about. Many times, people in the industry see someone in their youth and they think they’re novices and assume they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’ve showed my experience though from what I’ve learned from my dad.

Do you think you might run Ace Sandblasting and Restoration?

Ronnie Jr.: I’ve actually given a lot of thought to that. Part of me wants to go my own path, but it seems like the generations of my family have worked so hard to get this business where it is that it would be a shame to let it go. Whatever I do, I’m always going to keep this with me and always have it running. I don’t see us stopping anytime soon.
Ronnie Sr.: In fact, we are celebrating our 45th anniversary this year!

Congratulations! What do you love most about your work, Ronnie Sr.?
Ronnie Sr.: I really love the places we go to. We travel all through this area dealing with different companies, and it’s so great to meet the people we do. Texas is just so friendly.
    It’s amazing how much we come across. I never know what we’re going to run into. We go from big towns to small towns. We love to road trip, to take the back roads, and we enjoy the barbecue places and restaurants along the way. It’s not so much work; it’s a joy going out there. My wife Tammie loves to go with us because she likes to go to antique shops and boutiques in those little towns we come across. And then we have Ace, our little pet Terrier, who loves to go with us – he loves barbecue as well!
    Subcontractor Ace Sandblasting and Restoration is located in Austin. –mjm


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Author Info

Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net