Longevity on the job has its advantages

Phil Castle

I count among my many blessings the opportunity to work in one job in one place for so long. More than 22 years, for those keeping track. While others change jobs — and by one estimate, nearly a third of the work force changes jobs every year — I happily stick to the business of telling stories about business.

Longevity has its advantages. It’s arguable whether I bring to my duties 22 years of experience or one year of experience repeated 22 times. Regardless, I’ve developed some efficiencies. Moreover, I don’t spend a lot of time with background research. Chances are good I’ve written about it before. If I need to review a previous story, it awaits just a few keystrokes away. I’d like to believe my lengthy tenure also has improved the quality of my reporting as well as the overall content of the Business Times. But I’ll let readers judge that for themselves.

The very best part of working in one job in one place for so long is the relationships it’s been my privilege to develop over the years, especially those with the remarkable entrepreneurs who start and run ventures in the Grand Valley. I’ve got to watch them and their businesses grow. In a couple of notable cases, I’ve been able to follow the entire evolution of a business — from startup to the sale that enabled the founders to exit and find even higher proverbial mountains to climb.

This very issue of the Business Times illustrates my point in the cover story about the sale of Grande River Vineyards in Palisade.

One of the first people I interviewed shortly after moving to the Grand Valley was Stephen Smith, the wine industry pioneer who founded Grande River Vineyards and at one time operated the largest wine grape growing operation in Colorado. I wrote about the auction in 2007 in which Smith sold part of his property to Richard and Jean Tally so they could construct the Wine Country Inn. Fast forward to 2019, and I sat down once again with Smith to talk about his plans to sell Grande River Vineyards and retire. Fast foward again to the present, and I’m sitting in the Wine Country Inn and talking again with the Tallys — this time about their purchase from Smith of Grande River Vineyards. 

Don’t things have a way of coming full circle? Isn’t it fun to watch it unfold?

It’s been equally rewarding over the past 22 years to work with Robert Bray and his family at Bray Real Estate in Grand Junction. Robert has long been a go-to source for information about the real estate market not only because of his insights, but also his invariably gracious willingness to share them with me. So I was delighted to talk again with Robert, his children and Lynn Thompson — the president of the firm — about the 75th anniversary of the founding of Bray Real Estate.

When it comes to longevity and company culture, Robert Bray believes one thing has everything to do with the other. One reason his company has been in business so long is its long-standing commitment to customers and the community.

I can’t claim for a second to match that kind of effort. I doubt I could reach that kind of milestone. But for now, I’m content to keep working in one job in one place.