Selling Out and Moving to Hawaii

We operated the asphalt milling business in California and Northern Nevada for over a decade, from the early 1990s until 2002. Again, our timing was exquisite, but we did not know that when we made the decision to start anew.

The first large milling machine we bought was a CMI 500, which was manufactured in Oklahoma. That purchase was absolutely crucial to the growth and success of the business. Our original machine was the 3rd one ever built, and our firm had the first CMI 500 west of the Rockies.

That particular machine was revolutionary in design, and changed the entire industry. It was so much more productive than what the competition had that we were easily able to double or triple the production rates of the original milling machines, and the fleets of our competitors were instantly made obsolete. We grew by leaps and bounds, and eventually owned 16 machines.

Our competition, of course, did not stand still, and by the early 2000s, everyone basically had the same equipment. The economics of the industry had reverted to the mean, and the margins became much smaller. Asphalt milling was still a very good business, but the extraordinary profits we were able to generate in the early years were a thing of the past.

In November of 2001, a nationwide company in a similar business (concrete grinding) called the office and asked us if we were for sale. The call was entirely unexpected, but of course, our answer was that we would consider selling if the offer was sufficient to make it in our interest to sell.

After a couple of months of negotiations, as well due diligence on the part of the Buyers, we agreed to sell the company. Given the amount of money involved, the decision was not too difficult to make. The terms of the sale required us to run the company for the new ownership for a period of three years.

Almost exactly two years into those three years, my wife and I went on vacation to Hawaii. We spent most of the time on Kauai, and only came to the Big Island of Hawaii to look at a piece of property we had owned since the 1980s that we had never seen.

After viewing that property (which we immediately sold) we stayed at the Marriott Hotel in the Waikoloa Beach Resort for the Christmas holidays. The Marriott is located adjacent to beautiful Anaeho’omalu Bay, and I noticed a new development being built next door, also located on the A-Bay. That project was called Kolea, and we ended up purchasing a new luxury condominium there on New Year’s Day, 2005. Our new home took a year to construct, which coincided almost perfectly with the end of my obligation to my employer. On February 10, 2005, we became residents of the Big Island.

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