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Stilt to last

image Charlie Richardson, owner of ChasCo Interiors, Inc.

DALLAS/FT WORTH - Charlie Richardson still remembers his “first steps.” He was 16 and tottering on stilts on a job site, helping his dad install suspended acoustical ceilings.






    “It was Bambi on ice,” Richardson says, laughing at the memory. “But I was pretty good at it right away. It didn’t take me long at all, maybe 10 minutes.”
    Richardson actually took to all aspects of the industry right away.
    “I grew up cutting my teeth on it because all my dad did was suspended acoustical ceilings for a company in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s,” Richardson says. “He worked for large drywall companies and was in charge of ceilings. We did malls and hospitals, including Harris Hospital, Cooks Children’s Hospital and All Saints. As a kid in the summers, I was out there helping; that’s how I learned. I liked it for some reason. I feel like God gave me a talent. By the time I was 18, I was pretty fast and good at it. I knew my calling and knew I wanted my own company. I knew it when I was 18 years old.”
    Richardson worked under his father’s tutelage for the next 12 years. When his dad retired in 1990, Richardson took over the position.
    “I continued working for that com-pany for a few years, but I wanted to do more,” Richardson says. “I was making a contacts with people and I started doing other drywall jobs on the side. Before you know it, I was working for a variety of companies, and I started a business, R-MAC Contracting, in 1992. “
    To better serve his customers, he opened his present company, ChasCo Interiors, Inc. in 2004. The business performs all phases of commercial interior finish out work, including metal stud framing for walls, sheetrock installation and wall blocking. A unique focus of the company is specialty ceilings. In ChasCo’s 26 years of operation, Richardson has grown the company to nearly 250 employees, which include his brother, senior estimator Cody Richardson, and son Ryan Richardson, who serves as the company’s vice-president. He also has opened two locations in Red Oak and Fort Worth and has created an in-house apprenticeship program.
    “I’m 53 years old. I’ve got some good years in me. I’m still hungry and motivated,” he says. “I’m also starting to think to the day when I want to go hunting and fishing every day. I have some guys in here that are my son’s age, and I teach them how to handle things.”
    Richardson is also teaching them the value of dreaming big.
    “One asked me if I ever envisioned this much [success], and my answer was, ‘Absolutely, I did.’ This is not a surprise to me. Back when I began, did I ever know that it would become a reality? There were times I wasn’t sure, but the dream, the vision – that has always been there.
    “And I’m not finished; I have more plans,” he adds. “My next step is to build a bigger building. I own some properties here that I want to build on. We purchased a building in Fort Worth a few years ago that has a lot of upside and growth in it. We’re also very seriously considering opening an office in another city. I have pretty good contacts in Austin and have done some work in Austin this year, so that’s something I’m interested in.”
    Richardson says he has enjoyed “walking the walk” of his work.
    “I love the competitiveness. A lot of people want the same work we do, and I love that!” he says. “I love the relationships and friends that I’ve made over the years. A lot of contacts I have were people I knew in the field at one time and they got promoted, started their own business or changed jobs and they reached back out to me. It’s been pretty neat to look back over the years.”
    As for working in stilts, Richardson is proud to have trained employees in that finer art himself. He’s even prouder of wearing them as he won Armstrong Ceiling Solutions’ first two Prelude Challenges in the 1990s.
    “It’s a good little resume point,” he chuckles.
    Subcontractor ChasCo Interiors Inc. in Red Oak and Fort Worth offers drywall and acoustical construction. –mjm

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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net