The Bowen file Featured

8:00pm EDT August 26, 2007

Born: Bluffton, Ind.

Education: Purdue University, bachelor of science degree in civil engineering; honorary doctorate, engineering

What is the biggest business challenge you have faced?

My first year in business, we were not profitable. I’m 27 years old. My wife and daughter were moving a pickup truck from one job to another and were in a car accident that almost killed them. Insurance didn’t cover it. It was a tough year. I got into the black after 14 months. We started in September 1967 and in November 1968, we finally had a profit. After that, it got easier.

What was your first job, and what did it teach you?

I worked with my dad in the summers, and I was always a hard-worker. It taught me that I love construction, and I like being responsible, and I like being in charge.

Bowen on his son taking the role of company president: My son has worked hard at selling himself to the other employees. He came in with a bit of experience, and he’s worked his way up. He’s worked in every position here, just about. I can’t sell him. He’s sold himself — by good insight, good discussion, good leadership and good planning. I can’t sell him by saying, ‘Well, here’s my son everybody. You need to listen to him because I said so.’ That’s not going to happen. That’s not going to help him.