Growing up in a small Midwestern suburb at the end of a cul-de-sac provided us our first opportunities to enter the world of entrepreneurship. Childhood at the Aring house was some combination of sport, outdoors, baseball cards and rainy day creation. The community park behind our house turned into the football field, the cul-de-sac turned into the roller hockey arena and our LEGO bricks turned into metropolises. Although not overly expensive these hobbies required some cash flow. Luckily for us our parents implemented a popsicle stick chore system in which each of us boys would get a popsicle stick for a good chore done (or a popsicle stick or two extracted after a “brother disagreement”). At the end of the week, count up the sticks, multiply by 10₵ and head to the sports card shop. Chore money was enough for a while but as our hobbies grew so did the bill. This led to our first summer business.
After setting aside a couple weeks of combined allowance and reviewing the ads for sales on popular candy/soft drinks, a trip to the local grocer netted us enough sugary drinks and snacks to supply the little league lawn chair parents for the weekend. Armed with an ice filled cooler, a vintage radio flyer wagon and a poster board, we successfully earned our first entrepreneurial dollars. We could re-stock and work through the summers expanding our inventory and earning tens of dollars. Eventually we outgrew the little league concession industry and moved on to neighborhood newspaper delivery, lawn mowing and other odd jobs. Fast forward to more recent times, upon earning Mechanical Engineering degrees from the University of Toledo (Go Rockets!) Caleb discovered a growing, green industry with a need for problem solving engineers with communication skills. As usual, I was not far behind in joining him.
We’ve been fortunate in our early engineering careers to learn the practice of building commissioning from some of the best in the business. Being trained and mentored under (BCxA) Certified Commissioning Professionals and Professional Engineers taught us industry best practices and, more importantly, how to implement the process so everyone on the project benefits. The work has confronted us with Alaskan winters, challenging contractors and complex controls system puzzles. The next challenge for us is to once again be our own bosses and implement each process how we see it. It’s exciting, it’s scary, it’s fun.
-Nathan Aring, PE, CCP