June 22, 2020
Father and Son Bond While Fixing Cars, Working Together
Mike and Chris Shindledecker of Blue Ridge Summit know a thing or two about mixing work and play.
The father-son duo both are employed at Specialty Granules LLC’s Charmian plant — and for leisure, spend time restoring cars together.
“We work on them together. We argue a little bit,” laughed Chris. He said the two have been enjoying the hobby since he was a teen when they swapped engines in his first car. Since, they’ve restored a Chevelle and currently are working on a 1957 Chevy.
The two join a line of other father-son employees at SGI — which has a history of employing second- and even third-generation workers at its stone quarry that produces roofing granules for shingles; aggregates for construction; and fines repurposed for soil fortification in farming.
A Cascade, Md., native, Mike said his stepfather prompted him to seek employment with SGI 44 years ago.
“I’ve been here that long, I’ve done just about everything,” explained Mike.
He said when he came to SGI in 1976, there weren’t many options for gainful employment close to home.
“The money was good and we got regular raises,” said Mike. “We’ve always got plenty of work — there’s always something going on.”
Like his father, Chris looked to SGI for a better livelihood and steady work. He started in April 2011.
“It definitely pays the bills,” said Chris, adding “I get to have time at home with the kids because I don’t have to travel too far.”
Occasionally, the father and son have had the opportunity to work side-by-side.
“He actually trained me on the haul truck,” Chris noted.
While some family members who work together might experience a strain to their relationship, it appears the duo’s time spent together has only bolstered respect and pride for each other.
Chris admires his father even more now that he sees him through others’ eyes.
“People respect him,” he said, “I hear people talking when they don’t know I’m there.”
And, according to Chris, there might be another generation at SGI’s Charmian plant one day. One of his sons has noted plans to attend college one day and return to the area to work with his father.
“My oldest son says he’s going to be my boss here someday — so there’ll be another generation here.”