When Gary Stevens tells his story, it is hard to grasp how he finds the time to do so much. There are only so many hours in a day, so many years in a life, and Gary seems to have filled them to the utmost. He admits to being “driven,” but in a way that shows he is proud of his achievements.
Gary’s love of wood was inspired by his grandfather, and he always speaks about him with great respect: “My grandfather was raised as one of a family of eleven in the Ozark Mountains. He was a young man during the Great Depression and I think that developed real character in him I learned from him that with a little patience you could figure out and fix most anything. His father had a blacksmith shop, so I also learned from him how to forge and make tools. He would help anyone and was the kindest man I ever knew. Unlike his father, he was a carpenter and he taught me how to build with wood.”
During wood shop classes at school, Gary “fell in love with wood. I did some turning and furniture making, and just loved it.” After a year of college, Gary joined the carpenters union and went to work in commercial construction. He is justly proud of his eventual rise to a position of great responsibility: “I worked my way up through the ranks to Job Superintendent in charge of projects valued up to 50 or 60 million dollars.”