16 years ago this month we founded Colorado Geothermal Drilling and began our journey into ‘planned unemployment’.
Dan jokes we’ve been unemployed since starting our own business- doesn’t feel like work when you love what you do! We began planning our future employment in our 20’s when we lived in Iowa. We went through all kinds of scenarios on where, when, and how we would bring geothermal to more people. Little did we know that a job offer for Kari in Colorado would bring us here and end up being one of the best decisions we ever made. We packed up everything we owned and sold our house in a matter of weeks and ventured out West. Initially, Dan worked for another engineering firm and Kari as an athletic trainer. After one year in Colorado things started falling into place and it’s fun to look back at how everything worked out. Dan’s raise and bonus that year were unimpressive and led us to make the decision to go all in and for him to leave his engineering firm. Even when his firm tried to counter him with a new offer he told them he didn’t even want to know what it was. We would live on Kari’s little salary and take a leap of faith. No longer working for ‘the man’ was a dream we shared and knew we would make happen.
Those early years were very impactful as we learned so much about how to start a small business, different installation scenarios, operating and designing equipment, grouting, streamlining processes, marketing, networking and building relationships. So many people impacted us in the beginning and lent us an ear for all of our questions. Dan met Sam Bandimere and began to soak in everything about drilling. Dan’s father, Doug, was our first employee and his parents took a risk and lent us money to buy equipment and materials. Luckily a few people had some trust in us. We paid that loan back within a few years and I’ll never forget the banker for praising us for paying off his parents second mortgage LOL. I just laughed and said it was what we owed them for supporting us.
“To be the one to make the decisions that directly impact your life is a wonderful thing.”
Many people will measure your success based on how large your company is and how much money you make. Size and money have never been our goals. We wanted to make the decisions that would impact us in ways that working for others used to. We wanted to run a company that treats its employees like we wanted to be treated. To provide outstanding service and education to our partners and commitment to quality for our clients. To learn from missteps and improve ourselves and our business on our journey. To leave a mark in our industry and better it. To support our community and other business owners in ways we couldn’t before. To be the best at what we do and hopefully lead a fulfilling life along the way. And to bring affordable and quality geothermal to all.
Our journey hasn’t been with out challenge and sacrifice. But I like to think we’ve embraced everything that has come at us with an attitude to conquer it, learn from it, and only repeat the things that make us effective, efficient, and better. Thank you to all of the people along the way that have supported us, done business with us, worked for us, and partnered with us. We would not be where we are today with out you!