On Father’s Day, I like to take a moment to reflect on and acknowledge the best things I’ve learned from my Dad, Steve Struber. Some of his values have shaped Struber, as we consistently prove ourselves as we become one of the best independent projects and program advisory services firms in Australia.
My Dad is a perfectionist with an exceptional work ethic. During his working life, he was a hands-on man who prided himself on delivering the highest quality building work for clients in our hometown of Cairns, Far North Queensland. Among all I learned from him, there are three things I’m proud to say have become hallmarks of how Struber operates.
Only do your best!
If Dad couldn’t do it right, he wouldn’t do it at all. From the comfort of our beds growing up, my sister and I would hear Dad racing out the front door in the morning – arms full of plans, an esky of food, a hot coffee thermos, and a bowl of cereal, which he’d eat balanced on the dash of his rattling truck. We wouldn’t see him until after dark. We’d eat, he’d tuck us into bed, and then we’d hear him downstairs in his office, quoting, programming, planning, and invoicing until the early hours. He did his best all day, every day, and worked until the job was done.
Dad always said, ‘The only difference between having and wanting is hard work.’ If I avoided my job of mowing the lawn all weekend at the age of 10, Dad would start the mower in the dark on Sunday night, strap a torch to the push bar, and hang with me in the yard until I’d finished the job safely.
At 13, when I was mucking about and getting average school grades, Dad took me to the local McDonalds and told them to give me enough shifts each week until I learned ‘the value of money’. I was too young for a tax file number, so they gave me $2.55 an hour and I learned quickly that I needed to do my best to succeed.
Focus on opportunity
Dad had a framed poster on his office wall that said, ‘Is this a problem, or an opportunity to learn?’ This was a positive mantra and something he lived by in business.
When I smashed a window riding my bike inside the house or got up to mischief, Dad would always point at the message, and I’d say “It’s an opportunity to learn.” He was positive and imaginative, and he taught us the value of going without in order to achieve something bigger.
As a result, at Struber, we always find a way. We stay calm when the heat is on – we believe growth happens when you are uncomfortable and we live by this mantra ‘Pressure is a privilege’. We ask: What now and what next?
You can do anything
Dad had a long family heritage in construction, property, and mining. As the father of two girls, I think he struggled at first with not having a boy to whom he could pass on his legacy of knowledge and building skills.
But he applied the first two lessons to his situation, and he got us out working from as early as I can remember. He took us to the job site on school holidays, and telling us ‘you can’ taught us to feed cables, dig holes, help pour slabs and get the lunch orders. I loved mixing it up with the boys on-site, and earnt my place in a ‘man’s world’. I remember meeting a kind female block layer wearing black denim hot-pants one day; she was also a local model and inspired me to realise that girls can do anything and do it best with their own flair. It’s amazing what you can do if you put your mind to it and it’s true, you really can do anything.
I’m honoured on Father’s Day to say how proud I am to follow in my Dad’s footsteps. And I know he’s proud when he hears the stories of Struber and that I’m leading an incredibly empowered team of teams to pave their own future to live their best life.