2014 Robert D. Sawyer Award - Doug Staebler

Honoring his nearly two decades of educational contribution to business development, the CFA Board of Directors has named Custom Concrete’s Chief Financial Officer, Doug Staebler, as the 2014 Robert D. Sawyer recipient. Known for his thought-provoking and carefully researched topics on all aspects of running the complex structure of a cast-in-place concrete contracting company, Doug has been a perennial featured keynote at the CFA Annual Convention.

“As I met more members during and after presentations at Convention,” stated Doug, “I came to realize that most CFA contractors did not have CFOs or controllers, and relied on outside CPAs for financial matters. I also began to realize that outside accountants have very little appreciation for or experience with many of the issues and challenges that we face in our businesses. I began to focus on financial aspects of managing a contracting business and how our specific industry experiences, both good and bad, could be helpful to many other contractors. Prior to joining Custom Concrete, I spent 14 years in public accounting working with closely held businesses and their owners, so it seemed natural to develop presentations that could be helpful for other companies.”

We asked Doug what the legacy of Bob Sawyer means in this award?

“Unfortunately, I only met Bob on a few occasions in my first few years attending the CFA summer meetings, but it was immediately apparent the impact that Bob had on our industry. As I became more familiar with the history of CFA, I learned that his tremendous vision and leadership were instrumental in forming the CFA. He was tireless in his efforts to build the Association. I was struck by the tremendous respect and appreciation that was held throughout the organization for Bob. Most of all, I remember that he spent immense effort and time to help other contractors in their business and to build an effective organization. Bob was a pioneer in our industry and was interested in everyone's success, and the Bob Sawyer award is very meaningful and humbling to me.”

The list of previous Bob Sawyer recipients is an impressive collection of pioneering contractor spirits and engaged professionals all committed to helping elevate cast-in-place concrete. Perhaps their most important commonality is the unselfish application of themselves to a multitude of efforts and peers. We asked Doug to consider those coming before him in this award and in light of it, what has compelled him to participate in the CFA, offering his experience, energy and leadership for so many years?

“When I first met Joe Carr and began working with Custom Concrete as the company's outside CPA, I was amazed at the combination of hard work and high ethical standards, together with a desire to build a business that created opportunities for so many people,” stated Doug. “In my first experiences with CFA, I met many like-minded individuals. It was very clear to me that these were special people who invested everything into their businesses with incredible passion and vision. I quickly came to realize that most of these companies faced the same challenges as we did, and I wanted to share some of our experiences that could be helpful to others. I quickly saw that sharing our experiences allows all of us to grow and develop our businesses with the benefit of hands on experience and knowledge of other contractors.”

This is the true spirit of the CFA and the purpose served in recognizing those tenants in the individuals committing the very most for the future of all. We asked Doug who he would describe as being influential in the work he’s contributed in this industry and have impacted his direction at times? “Over the years, I have been blessed to meet and get to know many tremendous business leaders in the CFA, and have gained a tremendous amount from these relationships. Some of the most significant include Scott Smith and his ability to successfully lead through difficult and fast changing business conditions; Phil Marone and his knack for negotiating with tough and difficult customers; Barry and Doug Herbert for their unique marketing insights and ability to distinguish their company from competitors,” stated Doug. “There have been many great discussions on business strategies with Dan Bromley, Bruce Neale, Buck Bartley, Tim Parish, Dennis Purinton and many others.”

“I have truly enjoyed the great opportunities to get to know so many great people in the CFA. This is a great group of hard working entrepreneurs who perform difficult work on a daily basis and have a real passion for building their business and creating opportunities for their employees. There have been many great times over the years and I have truly enjoyed the relationships that have developed over the years.”

“It is always a proud moment for the CFA to be able to recognize a leader that has done so much and can be attributed for significant changes and improvements in the company strategies for so many,” states Barry Herbert of Herbert Construction, chair for the CFA Nominating Committee. “This award is not given very frequently so that the integrity of the award as our highest honor is maintained. Being able to recognize Doug in this way is very fitting for the hand he has played in the strength of the CFA network.”

About the Award
The Robert D. Sawyer Award is named on behalf of Bob Sawyer, the first CFA executive director, and it is presented to a contractor member whose contributions to the industry merit recognition. The award recognizes individuals who commit countless time and resources to serve the industry, as Bob Sawyer did for the CFA. Bob Sawyer passed away last year after a brief illness. His inspiration and leadership brought together a group of minds that are focused on improving the technology and practices in the poured wall industry.

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