Ready for a Career Change? Three Business Owners Share How They Made the Switch

Published on December 26, 2018

Change can be exciting, thrilling and overwhelming all at the same time. But it can also be worth it. These three business owners started out chasing a career they thought was “the one” – until they discovered an entirely new journey that led them to great success (and to Bobcat equipment).

Change can be exciting, thrilling and overwhelming all at the same time. But it can also be worth it. These three business owners started out chasing a career they thought was “the one” – until they discovered an entirely new journey that led them to great success (and to Bobcat equipment).

New Career in a New State

Randy Henry ran a tire facility in St. Louis, Missouri, for 25 years before he decided it was time to explore a change. With one son pursuing medical school, and the other entering college soon, he wanted to financially support his sons as they chased their dreams. Randy’s brother-in-law had been pestering him for years about going to Florida to start a construction business. But, it wasn’t until 2004 that Randy decided he’d give it a closer look. 

“I put him off for a couple years,” Randy says. “And then I said, ‘You know what, I think I’m going to try it out. I’m going to come down here for a week and take a look and see what you’ve got.’ And I did.” 

After spending one week in the Sunshine State, Randy gave the tire shop a month’s notice and took the leap into a new state and a new career. When Randy and his brother-in-law started their business, USA Grading, Randy took on more of a supervisor role as he familiarized himself with the industry and the equipment. Now, 14 years later, he’s the general manager and runs a crew of 52. 

The career move allowed Randy to successfully support both of his sons, and he says he hasn’t looked back. 

New Career in a New State

After completing the building construction program at Michigan State University, Craig Graef and his wife made the move to Texas, where he launched a career in home construction. He built homes for 15 years before he decided to take a look at other options. 

“After 15 years of, you know, moving up and being area managers and things like that, I just got frankly burned out on it,” Craig says. “It’s an endless treadmill.” 

After he left homebuilding, he had an opportunity to partner with an excavation company where he worked doing site prep. Unfortunately, with the economic downturn in 2008–2009, that partnership dissolved. Craig took this in stride and turned it into yet another career change. He decided to launch his own operation, Alterra Services, in 2010. 

“I always liked [site prep],” Craig says. “I have been around that quite a bit growing up in Michigan. Started working with that partnership. I enjoyed it a lot, and from then decided well, we’ll give it a shot and do it ourselves.” 

After making the move to go out on his own, Craig says he would’ve only done one thing differently. 

“I wish I would have done it a lot sooner.”

New Career in a New State

Chris Menn knew early on that he wanted to go out on his own – and decided to do it at only 19 years old. 

“I quit my real job and started doing stamped, colored and decorative concrete; light residential driveways; and patios,” Chris says. 

Before he began his solo adventure, Chris worked in a completely different field: sales at an auction company. Chris completed concrete jobs on the side for friends and family, and as more and more concrete projects came in, he realized his love for the work. He decided to start his own concrete company, C-R Menn Concrete, in 2007. 

The appetite for growth that got him started hasn’t ceased over the past decade. Today, Chris manages roughly 35 employees, and his company has reached gross sales of $5 million. 

“I would love to take it to a $10 million company,” Chris says. “I want to double it one more time yet, and we’ll see if I’m happy then.” 

If these three men were brave enough to take the plunge into a new career, who’s to say you aren’t, too? If you’ve been doing the same thing for forever and need to switch things up, a career change might be your next step. 

More Recent Stories

View All Stories
Bobcat Leasing Program Provides Reliability for GBH Enterprises Brad and Giovanna Hull Pose for Selfie at Sunset

Bobcat Leasing Program Provides Reliability for GBH Enterprises

Reliability and appearances are important on high-profile jobs. That’s why GBH Enterprises chooses two-year leases to ensure a modern fleet for every project.
Bobcat Joystick Controls Enable Mario Coss’ Dream Mario Coss Operates a Bobcat E42 Compact Excavator on a Jobsite

Bobcat Joystick Controls Enable Mario Coss’ Dream

Bobcat machines with joystick controls enabled Mario Coss to fulfill his dream to be a business owner, even after a crash that changed his life in an instant.
Bobcat Toolcat Purchase Inspires Bobcat-Style Bed Dash on His Bobcat Skid-Steer Inspired Bed

Bobcat Toolcat Purchase Inspires Bobcat-Style Bed

When the Kowalonek family purchased their Bobcat Toolcat utility work machine, it created inspiration for a Bobcat-style bed to overcome a bedtime challenge.
Bobcat Equipment Grows Indiana Couple’s Outdoor Business Andrea & Ben Mohr with Bobcat T595 Compact Track Loader at Jobsite

Bobcat Equipment Grows Indiana Couple’s Outdoor Business

Discover how a Bobcat compact track loader helped Andrea and Benjamin Mohr grow their business from small landscaping projects to a full-service outdoor business.
Bobcat Equipment Powers Regenerative Farming at Blufftop Farm Check Family Standing in Front of Cattle on Blufftop Farm

Bobcat Equipment Powers Regenerative Farming at Blufftop Farm

Discover how a single Bobcat skid-steer loader provides all the power needed for regenerative farming practices by the Check Family at Blufftop Farm in Wisconsin.
Carla Beltran Sustainable Dream with Bobcat Equipment Carla Beltran Climbs Into Her Bobcat T66 Compact Track Loader Equipped With a Brushcat Rotary Cutter Attachment

Carla Beltran Sustainable Dream with Bobcat Equipment

Discover how Carla Beltran uses Bobcat Equipment to make her dream come true of creating a sustainable living on her homestead, and a haven for all to enjoy.
Bobcat Partners with the NRPA for Park Restoration A Bobcat Zero-Turn Mower and Giant $50,000 Check Sit Near a Forest

Bobcat Partners with the NRPA for Park Restoration

Bobcat has partnered with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) by awarding five $50,000 grants to support park restoration, sustainability and enhancements.
Three Generations of Bobcat Engineers: The Asche Family Drew Asche operating Bobcat compact track loader.

Three Generations of Bobcat Engineers: The Asche Family

Discover the legacy at Bobcat with three generations of the Asche family men bringing innovation, advancements and dedication as engineers over the last 50 years.
Musician Randy Brown’s Ranch Management with Bobcat Equipment Randy Brown at His Ranch With a Bobcat Small Articulated Loader

Musician Randy Brown’s Ranch Management with Bobcat Equipment

Tune into how Western Colorado musician Randy Brown uses Bobcat equipment to navigate the balance between hard work and enjoyment, both on and off his ranches.
Athena Valanofeld Tackles Abandoned Acreage with CT2025 A Bobcat CT2025 Compact Tractor On A White Background

Athena Valanofeld Tackles Abandoned Acreage with CT2025

Unearth the story of Athena Valanofeld an Albuquerque Fire Rescue lieutenant and mother-to-be, tackling an abandoned acreage for her family with a Bobcat CT2025.

What’s Your Bobcat Story?

Taking on big, ambitious challenges is what being One Tough Animal® is all about. Tell us how Bobcat empowers or inspires you to accomplish more. Whether it’s at work, at play or in life, share your story with us.

Share Your Story