“We thought we were trying as hard as we could,” said Lacey Utter.
It was 1997, and Micah Utter had been bussing tables at a restaurant when he was recruited to work for a customer who owned a concrete business. “I learned from the ground up. I was a laborer apprentice for a couple years, then moved up to being like a journeyman, and then went right into foreman. I ran the company for him for a while as far as installation and operation.”
A natural hard-worker who was always looking for growth opportunities, Micah excelled quickly and began to build a reputation among family and friends. His weekends became so full with side work that he had to hire a crew just to get all of it done.
After six years, he and his wife Lacey decided it was finally time to start their own company, and Advanced Concrete and Construction was born. Micah’s days were spent out in the field working with his crew, and at night he was home surrounded by paperwork and billing. Lacey maintained her full time job as a legal secretary in addition to working in their business.
“He’s always been an entrepreneur,” said Lacey. “But he was just ‘putting out fires’ all the time.”
“I had really good people working for me, but there wasn’t accountability,” explained Micah. “If they didn’t get something done, I’d pick up the slack. They never really knew what I expected from them.”
Several years passed and they kept talking about growing the business. They had a skilled foreman in place who provided much needed support, but they couldn’t maintain consistency.
“I’d stay in the office and bring in all of this work, then the operations couldn’t accomplish it all so I’d go out in the field and we’d get all that work done,” explained Micah.
“It was up and down, up and down, like a roller coaster,” added Lacey.
“I knew what I needed to do, but I didn’t know how to implement it and get there,” said Micah. “In 2008 I started getting a lot of cold calls from national consulting companies. I had one come talk to me – it was really hardcore, super invasive and very expensive.”
“We were skeptical because we didn’t have a lot of money – in our minds – to put towards it,” Lacey added. “And we didn’t know any other way we could work harder or any better. We thought we were trying as hard as we could.”
“In my mind I knew that I needed it, but I didn’t feel at that moment and with that company it was the right fit,” said Micah. “A couple more companies called and then Collaboration came along. I like working with local people, the numbers scared me, but I looked at the customer list. I know them all, and they are all successful. People we did business with had worked with Collaboration so we called them and they said ‘don’t even think about the money portion because you’ll get that back, that’s easy, but it’s the amount of work that you’re going to have to do. Don’t do it if you’re not committed.’ We’ve never been scared of work, so we did it.”
“It’s a lot different than what we thought it would be. We’ve learned a lot more than what we anticipated,” Lacey said.
“I don’t know that we thought we would be held accountable as much as we are, and that’s what’s made us successful,” added Micah. “We’ve grown from three crews to five and it’s good. We now have the tools to do the growth. The work is there. The sales are there now. The whole system works. If you do it every day, it works. There are some days when I get off track, but I know if I’m not on top of my pipeline, I’m short on leads, then I’ll be short on sales,” said Micah, summing it up.
They were pushed out of their comfort zone, discovered new ways to work harder, and are experiencing results beyond their expectations. Micah and Lacey Utter are true entrepreneurs with unwavering drive, determination and the belief to make it happen.