In January of 2009 I began my entrepreneurial journey. After careful research, planning and execution I launched Hickory Ridge Forestry, LLC. Drawing on my education, with a degree in Forest Resource Management and experience in forestry/environmental fields, ranging from the rugged mountainous desert southwest to the Midwest, I put all my eggs in one basket. HRF is a full-service forestry consulting/contracting firm operating on large scale land management improvement projects in the private and public sector.
HRF has been outstanding for 15 years. It has been rewarding for our natural lands and my family. Much of the work is fully hands-on. The work is extremely arduous, often quite uncomfortable and certainly dangerous. Jokingly, I say I’ve used my 9 lives years ago. Unfortunately, that joke is real, and the number of times I’ve been a fraction of an inch from ceasing to exist is far greater than 9.
During the winter of 2013 I spent nearly 10 weeks bound to a reclining chair or bed recovering from surgery to repair disc damage in my lower spine. I’m certain that activities during my testosterone boosted youthful years didn’t help my back issues but lumberjacking and some accidents in the woods couldn’t have benefited either. I sat in the chair strategizing ideas to continue entrepreneurial endeavors that would be less taxing on my body.
I’d crafted knives for years. I created knives for family, friends, donations and gifts. I enjoyed creating custom projects for people but had operated simply as a hobby. After talking with my wife, we decided to roll the dice and turn my knife hobby into a legitimate business. Adkins Wood & Knife, LLC was founded in 2013. Since that time, I’ve been growing the business through hard work, client referrals and a commitment to create purposefully burly built blades.
It has been challenging at times. I’ve burnt the candle at both ends, running an established business (HRF) and growing a new thriving business (AW&K). AW&K has experienced intensified growth every year since 2013. By 2022 I was spending 80% of my year working on client projects with AW&K with the remainder of the year filled with forestry projects for HRF. AW&K was confirming itself as a proven performer. AW&K was ready to take over the spotlight.
This winter, while working on a large forestry contract, I realized my time in the woods needed to end. It simply was time. I might relate this to the moment I saw my wife for the first time. When you know…you know. When I recognized this, it was as if a great burden had been lifted from me and I could breathe freely. I still had many more weeks of heavy daunting work ahead of me. Conditions were dreadful, terrain was difficult, and the woods were punishing me. The forest literally wasn’t going to let me go without a fight. I finally felled my last tree and dropped to my knees in a moment of absolute relief. I could breathe again.
I am working full-time crafting high-end, high performance, hard-use knives. 2023 marks the closing of the HRF chapter in my book of life. I am devoting all my resources to AW&K. All my eggs will again be back in one basket. There is only one choice. Succeed. I’m a firm believer in hope, but in this case, hope is not the answer. I can’t “hope” to be successful. I can’t “hope” to not fail. I choose to succeed for my family. I choose to succeed for you.
I choose to breathe easy…and DOMINATE.