Facundo Garcia’s career with Blythe Construction began, like all great romances, with heartbreak. Twenty-five years old at the time, he’d travelled to North Carolina from Texas for a change of scenery following his recent divorce from his first wife. At the time, he was sure it would be a temporary gig—a chance to clear his head, shore up some savings, and put painful memories behind him. Then unexpectedly, she entered the picture.
“Let’s just say, I met someone,” Garcia says, smiling, “and here I am today. Thirty-five years later, I’m still here.”
It wasn’t just someone, of course. The woman Garcia met would become his wife and lifelong companion. And the position he’d started with Blythe Construction (known in ’84 as “Blythe Brothers”) would become an equally sustaining factor in course of his adult life. Looking back, however, Garcia admits he was in poor shape emotionally, and says that family and career were the last things on his radar.
“I felt in those days that I didn’t want anything to do with women,” he explains. “I had all the usual, negative thoughts—that I would never find someone, never start a family. Those are not good feelings. But then,” he says, “I met this woman. She won me over.”
“Blythe has given me the freedom to do my job. Everybody here knows what they’re doing and what’s going on, we trust each other. That’s what has kept me here.”
Motivated to stick around North Carolina a while longer, Garcia began putting down roots at work too. He started involving himself more, and took an active approach to learning everything he could about the Graham Street asphalt plant (now the location of Blythe’s headquarters) where he’d been hired as an entry-level yardman.
Garcia’s initiative quickly led to him being promoted to Loader Operator—a position which afforded him more responsibilities, as well as more independence on the job. “Out here,” he says, “everyone is part of a team. Each person has a job to do, and the rest of the team depends on you to do your work.”
At around the same time that he was promoted, Garcia took the plunge into another team of sorts, by marrying the woman who had convinced him to stay in North Carolina. Today, more than thirty years later, he still puts in 60-hour work weeks at Blythe’s Pineville asphalt plant, and he’s still married to the same girl. And while both areas of his life have undergone significant changes, Garcia says his appreciation for each has only deepened over time.
“One thing that’s very important is having freedom,” he says. “Blythe has always given me freedom to do my job. Everybody here knows what they’re doing and what’s going on, we trust each other. When everybody trusts each other, it makes the day easier. It’s easier for everyone to do a good job and be successful. That’s what has kept me here.”
The secret to a long and happy marriage? According to Garcia, the same ingredients apply.
“With marriage, it has to do with the relationship with my wife. I don’t boss her around, she doesn’t boss me around. There’s ups and downs, like anything. But we work together, we’re a team. Honestly, the older I get the more I love my wife.”
As with marriage, Garcia admits to experiencing ups and downs throughout his 35-year career with Blythe, but says that longevity has paid off in ways he wouldn’t have benefitted from, had he made the decision to leave.
“I had opportunities,” he admits. “And you know, when you’re young, you have different ideas of what you want and what’s important. You’re trying things out, and you wonder what else there is. It goes through your mind. But now, I love what I’m doing. I wouldn’t change anything.”