IT'S NOT EASY building a business from the ground up, even when you're in the business of building. Ron Peterson, founder and owner of RJP Construction, knows this all too well. Over the last 26 years, he has worked tirelessly to turn his small, Ogden-based wood framing operation into a commercial enterprise that expertly handles projects in eight states across the western U.S. RJP's services include detailed timber work, structural seismic upgrades, large jobs like several hundred thousand feet of office space, and everything in between. At the height of the construction season, the company employs over 80 carpenters and the staff to support them. Their well-earned reputation for quality has brought them ever-increasing success, but, as with any company, RJP's growth hasn't been without challenges:

"My last math class was in the ninth grade," Ron says with a chuckle, "so I've had a lot of live-and-learn challenges when it comes to running and growing my business. But aside from the things I've had to personally learn, one of the biggest challenges I've faced is finding the right people to bring on to our team. The lack of labor force is a huge concern to all of us in the construction industry, but we've been lucky to find great, skilled people who put their best into everything they do. As a business owner, it makes a big difference when the people on your team feel the same sense of responsibility and ownership for a project that you do. It shows in everything we make.

"Having a good team is vital," Ron adds, "so I have to make sure we do right by them. Taking care of everyone on our team weighs pretty heavily on me sometimes. Like making sure we can get everyone paid. For seasonal businesses, cashflow is always tricky. But payroll comes around every two weeks and when you have 130 or 140 employees, that is a big, big expense. Luckily though, we have a line of credit with America First that helps us keep our employees and our vendors paid, even during slow months. And every year they do an annual review of our business to catch any potential issues before they become problems and to make sure we stay in...

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