Melvin Kay ranks right up there with Americana icons that have lived their historical time frame with gusto. He has starred in the riveting tale of his life armed mainly with ingenuity, strength and a can-do attitude. He was not born with a silver spoon in his life, but built his riches with his bare hands and know-how. He could be the John Wayne of the fencing company world because he is an American with true grit. |
Kay was not born into wealth; he made his own. His birth in the 1940’s to a father with a gambling problem and a mother, an Italian immigrant who never learned to drive, did not foretell the story of the self made millionaire he would become. His tenacity, backbone and respect for his workers are what made him successful.
At the age of seven years old, this business professional-to-be was already picking crops with his family. Almonds, fruit and tomatoes were harvested by the hands that would one day steer a fencing company to its huge success. Because his family traveled where the crops were ready to be harvested, Melvin had to switch schools repeatedly. He attended twenty different schools before dropping out at the age of sixteen to work at a timber company. During his stints as a worker, he experienced ill treatment that made him vow to not repeat it with his own employees when he eventually became a boss. There were even times when he was stiffed and not given his promised pay.
Kay tried his hand at several other businesses before he hit the jackpot with his Golden State Fence Company. He tried another fence co., one that built garage doors and a saw mill. During his ownership of the lumber mill, he was in an accident which cost him a portion of one of his fingers. Finally, in the 1980’s, he began his most successful venture, the fence company which became as golden as its name.
Golden State Fence Company was named after California’s nickname that the state had earned during its early gold mining days of past. As miners struck it rich during California’s history, Kay struck it rich with his fencing firm. This business was started with five employees but in its heyday employed more than seven-hundred. His workers were very loyal to him because he treated them with great respect and even as if they were members of his family. Employees of his company were reportedly paid an entry salary of $35,000 which escalated up to $60,000 a year. He is a living example of treating others how you want to be treated, which ironically is the golden rule. So Golden State Fence Company also lived by the “rule” reflecting its name.
The company which built multiple miles of high quality fences has been reorganized and renamed Fenceworks. The man who originally began it back in the 1980’s, Melvin Kay, is still operating it and is still fiercely loyal and respectful to his employees. Kay’s life is a shining example of what can be done with grit and a persevering attitude.
Melvin Kay is still living a great life as a self-made American business person. If you are curious about his story please see: http://fenceworksus.wordpress.com/
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