Associate Spotlight: Bob Krul Celebrates 45 Years with Miller-Valentine
When Bob Krul first accepted a job with Miller-Valentine, he never intended to build a career in construction. He was studying general business in college at the time, with plans to go into accounting. He only took a summer job in the field at the request of his brother, Bill, who was then president of the company.
However, Bob discovered he had an aptitude for construction. The temporary job extended into part-time work during the school year. Before long, Bob was a full-time Associate with the company. Forty-five years later, he has a full career to reflect on — and much experience to share with others.
The Most Challenging Projects
Throughout his career, Bob never hesitated to take on new challenges. He worked his way from laborer to foreman to superintendent and construction manager. He also served as Miller-Valentine’s first safety director. Three years ago, he joined the Preconstruction team. He estimates that he’s worked on more than 40 projects in nearly a dozen states.
“What I like about construction is looking back at the end of the day on how much you have accomplished,” said Bob. “The profession can be demanding, but the ability to drive around town and show your kids the projects that you’ve worked on is rewarding.”
Bob quickly earned a reputation for collaborating with others to ensure the client’s goals are met. For that reason, he was often put on some of the company’s most challenging projects.
“Bob has always been the kind of person that you want on your team,” said Nick Beach, Vice President of Operations for the Southeast Region. “He thinks things through. He works well with others. And he’s always done a great job of bringing people together for a common goal: to get the project built right, safely, and on time.”
A Lifetime of Lessons
As the company’s first safety director, Bob paved the way for Miller-Valentine to achieve the highest ranking in OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program. He has also been influential in creating Miller-Valentine’s culture of continuous improvement. But he may be best known for helping to shape the next generation of Associates.
“He’s a great mentor,” said Nick. “You can’t get 45 years of experience from a book.”
One of his mentees was Brian Lacon, who is now the Vice President of Preconstruction and Bob’s manager. But 23 years ago, when Brian was a recent college grad and new to Miller-Valentine, he was assigned to work as Bob’s assistant on a job in Columbus.
“Bob was an incredible mentor to me, very patient and thoughtful,” said Brian. “He exposed me to what’s required to ensure a construction project is successful in the field. That experience and the perspective I gained was essential to everything I did after that point.”
When he joined the Preconstruction team, Bob received training and guidance from Brian. The fact that their mentor/mentee relationship has come full circle has not been lost on either of them.
“One of the things I’m really proud of is seeing the people that I mentored and trained move up in the company and their careers,” said Bob.
An Associate and a Friend
Forty-five years is a notable milestone for anyone; 45 years with the same company is increasingly uncommon. Bob attributes his longevity to the people and the culture of Miller-Valentine.
“It’s the honesty and integrity of the people who work here,” said Bob. “The company has always been fair to me, and we treat our clients and our suppliers with honesty and integrity. That is the key to Miller-Valentine’s success.”
Retirement is on the horizon, but Bob said he and his wife do not have solid plans yet. He’d like to sleep in and, unsurprisingly, has been thinking about volunteering his time to help others. When Bob does decide to hang up his hard hat, he will be missed.
“Bob is a friend. He’s still just as demanding and diligent as anybody else, but he excels at the personal side of the business,” said Brian. “In this tough industry, it is enjoyable to work side by side with somebody who cares about your success, both with the company and in life.”
Congratulations, and Thank You Bob!
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