75 Stories: Sam Clark, President/CEO
2021 marks the 75th Anniversary for Clark Construction Company. To celebrate, we’re using our employee’s voices to explain the impact Clark has made to ourselves, fellow teammates, communities, and clients. This is Sam’s story, and marks the end to our stories as we enter into the next 75.
In 2007, Ken Lawless delivered some encouraging words to me during a performance review in a conference room in our former Northern Michigan office in downtown Petoskey. For me, it was confidence-boosting feedback. Ken shared his five-year plan to retire and informed me he thought I would be the best choice to take on his role. I’m aware my last name gave me a significant advantage over others in the company, and I had doubts about my ability. Hearing Ken’s trusted opinion made me feel more capable. As I reflect on Ken’s words, it’s a reminder of how powerful encouragement can be.
The possibility of leading Clark Construction was intimidating because of the risk involved in devaluing something others built before me. I worked alongside so many bright and talented people. I’d ask myself, “Would I be capable of leading them?” Ken gave me the confidence to accept my new role as president of the company in 2009.
In the Army, anything that was difficult or miserable, we labeled good training. The first five years of my leadership coincided with the worst recession in the company’s history. It was uncertain, complex, challenging, and indeed, it was good training by any standard. Those were tough years.
Today, in 2021 leading into 2022, we have been continuously improving and the future has never been brighter for Clark Construction. I would not have ever imagined that my job would be so rewarding. I work with great people who follow our strategic plan, we have a great culture, and we’ve been more successful than I ever imagined possible. I wonder, if Ken had not given me a boost that day, would I have had the confidence in accepting this opportunity and had the same experience?
Remember to compliment and encourage your team; your words have power, and they can change lives.
“Today, in 2021 leading into 2022, we have been continuously improving and the future has never been brighter for Clark Construction. I would not have ever imagined that my job would be so rewarding. I work with great people who follow our strategic plan, we have a great culture, and we’ve been more successful than I ever imagined possible.”