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An entry to a new career

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DALLAS/FT WORTH - When Ross Walker worked in marketing for the private country club industry, he found himself surrounded by successful, financially comfortable clientele. Wishing to be successful and financially comfortable himself, he noted what they all had in common.

 

 

 

    “Most of them were self-employed or had created a business and had done very well with it,” Walker says. “That was one of the things that influenced me the most to go into business for myself.”
    Walker says he had “zero experience” as an entrepreneur – and even less in the door and window industry – but after a broker connected him with a door and window business seeking a new owner, Walker was intrigued and began his research.
    “I felt this was an opportunity to get into something that would be semi-recession-proof. If your door breaks, you’re always going to make the repairs; as naïve as I was, that was my logic behind it,” he explains. “I also just felt that doors and windows have very few moving parts, so it was something I would be able to learn fairly easily.”
    After he took on the business, Black Hawk Door & Window Enterprises LLC in 2002, he realized it would be a bigger learning curve than he anticipated.
    “It was a huge learning curve,” Walker remembers. “I bought the business from another guy and at that particular point in time, they were fairly new to the commercial construction side of things. They had some success in the residential end but there was still a lot of learning to go in figuring out how to do panic hardware, door closers, and store fronts. I’d say a good 50-60 percent of our business was residential which is just a whole other mindset and operation.
    “Also, the business was in Granbury and I wanted to bring it to Fort Worth where most of our work was – in the D/FW metroplex. So in addition to buying a company, within six months we’re packing our bags and moving to Fort Worth from Granbury and then branching out more and more into the commercial marketplace and really not focusing as much on the residential.”
    Walker’s strategy paid off for Black Hawk. Sales have improved every year, and the company has found a solid positioning in the hotel market. The company has also formed strong relationships with general contractors including Southwest Contract-ing, DDG and Benchmark.
    Walker has had the satisfaction of proving himself in a new field as well.
    “I’ve always had a creative drive,” he says. “I’m not a real numbers cruncher, but I love driving down the road and saying we did that. It can be a hotel that is built on the side of the highway or a new office building for somebody, but I can look at it and say that and 50 years from now there is a good chance it will still be there. It’s a job that is fulfilling because you are kind of leaving your mark and helping the city grow.
    “For example, The Modern Art Museum in Fort Worth is a very well-known building; architects from all around the world worked here and created this masterpiece and then the art that’s inside is of very expensive, very exclusive and very high-end,” he continues. “I joke with my friends that my work hangs in the Museum of Modern Art – it’s doors and windows!”
    As for the future, Walker hopes his company continues its growth and success.
    “These last couple of years especially have exceeded my expectations that I had with this business,” he says. “When I think we can’t do more, we end up doing more, and it’s been really exciting. I hope we see that continue in a sense. Also, the creative end of it, the projects that I probably would have shied away from early on, now we look at and say that we know how to do that and can do that. Those kinds of things are very exciting, as well as seeing the city grow.”
    Black Hawk Door & Window Enterprises in Fort Worth offers installation and repair. –mjm


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Melissa Jones-Meyer dfweditor@constructionnews.net