COVID-19 Update: While our office remains closed to the public, rest assured that our team is still available to serve you and is best reached through phone or email contact. Our jobsites continue to run with the necessary safety measures in place. To contact our general mailbox, click here.

Built from the ‘Dirt’ Up: Brian Kane’s Journey at Horst Excavating

I am not the type of person who is very comfortable talking about myself. Some of this is probably just my personality; the rest I’m sure is ingrained in me from my time in the Army. You learn a lot about the importance of “we” in the army. To say that my experiences working in the armed forces for the United States shaped me would be an understatement – it truly helped make me the man I am today. I learned a lot about self-discipline, goals, and perseverance. Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned was that it doesn’t matter what I did the day before – it’s what I do today that counts.

That is something which has stuck with me throughout my life and has helped shape my work ethic as well. When I got out of the army in 2000, I needed a good job to start my civilian life. Luckily, I had a friend who worked at Horst who asked if I’d be interested in becoming a pipe layer. I had next to no experience in that type of role, but happily applied for and accepted the position at Horst Excavating. I found that the work suited me – I liked working outdoors and working in a hands-on occupation – and quickly learned that my drive was not limited to my military career. I am not one for complacency and have an ambitious streak which easily leads to my desire to continually improve and move forward. Each day is a chance to learn and grow as a person, which is something that naturally lends itself to moving through the ranks – whether in the military or corporate setting.

“Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned was that it doesn’t matter what I did the day before – it’s what I do today that counts.” 

After working as a pipe layer for a few years, I moved into the position of pipe crew leader. I enjoyed working in that role, leading my crew and helping to guide our portion of the project. Less than three years later, I had an opportunity to move into the office as a Project Coordinator. I decided I would be a fool not to give it a try. I was hesitant only because I wasn’t sure if I would like moving into an office setting and worried a bit that I’d feel stuck inside the four walls of an office. As it turned out, the work suited me and I became engrossed enough in the role that I didn’t much mind being inside. I really enjoyed the fact that I could work in the details of the projects, and immediately liked the idea of working toward the goal of becoming a Project Manager. I was fortunate to work with several people who I respect greatly, and tried to learn everything I could from them in my quest. Eventually, I grew into a Project Manager position, one which I held for about 4 years. I really liked project management – being involved in the details of the project, handling a new challenge every day, juggling various projects and deadlines to keep things moving along.

A New Perspective

In 2008, our company acquired another excavating company. The decision was made that I would move into the new office and assist with the transition. I became the sole Project Manager in that office, and was able gain a new perspective about the business. I was more involved in the day-to-day operations and in the estimating of our projects, not to mention the internal dynamics of the transition. I was provided with a general oversight of the entire business – something that really helped me gain an understanding on a whole new level.

“The truth is I will never stop experiencing growing pains – the minute I stop learning and growing, I’ve failed.”

After the transition was complete, the opportunity to advance presented itself once again. In summer of 2011, I accepted a promotion to become the Operations Manager of Horst Excavating. That move was not one without challenges. Not only was I moving from managing projects to managing the whole business, but I was also suddenly the person to whom everyone reported. I experienced a few growing pains, many of which were internal to myself. I felt as though I needed to constantly prove myself – especially to those people who had significant seniority. I felt that people were thinking “what does he know?” based on my age. The lesson I learned was that I had the opportunity to prove myself every single day; and that’s really all any of us can do. With some time, I felt more at ease in the role and eventually switched off that internal voice. The truth is I will never stop experiencing growing pains – the minute I stop learning and growing, I’ve failed.

Perseverance and Dedication

I closed out the year in 2012 by becoming an official officer of Horst Excavating. I earned the new title of Vice President, something even I hadn’t guessed could happen in the 12 years that had passed since I became employed by Horst. Every opportunity I took helped me to grow as an individual, to learn new things and fix issues as they presented themselves – which in turn helped the company and I grow together. I continue to spend each day trying my best and working hard; never forgetting that it’s what I do today that matters. I was asked to write about my journey from Pipe Layer to Vice President, in an effort to show what perseverance and dedication can provide in your career. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know I’m ready for the challenge.