Joe Meek and son dominant

Father and son team Joe Meek Jr., left, and his son Joe Meek III, work together at Citrus Builder constructing new residential homes. Above, the two stand on the third-floor of a new home in Crystal River.

When sons and daughters grow up, they typically want to make their way in the world away from mom and dad and blaze their own trails in life.

But some don’t follow the template. Some not only follow in their father’s footsteps but even team up with dad and work side by side on the job.

Can such close familial connections work in the workplace? Is the generation gap too great? Or can father and offspring learn from each other and enhance a business?

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In honor of Father’s Day, the Chronicle talked with some local father and son/daughter pairings and asked those questions. 

Here’s what they said.

Robert and Jennifer Schlumberger

Robert Schlumberger and daughter Jennifer Schlumberger-Jones. They work together at Schlumberger-Jones CPA & Co.

Name/age - Robert Schlumberger, 69 

Business: Schlumberger-Jones CPA & Co.

What do you do at the business? “Everything from soup to nuts but mainly oversee operations, IT, Taxes, Financial Planning & Services, Software & equipment installation and maintenance ... all around senior advisor.”

How many years with the company? “I started in Citrus County in 1987 after selling a firm in Butler, Pennsylvania, that I owned for 11 years. Now, as of 2020, (it’s called) Schlumberger-Jones CPA & Co.”

Working together: How did it happen? “Jennifer wanted to work for a large CPA firm but after working in Tampa for a company while in college, she decided to come back to Crystal River and work with me.”

What’s the best part of your dad/daughter work situation? “Seeing my daughter grow into the leader she has become; I’m very proud of her.”

What’s the most challenging aspect? “It has not always been easy because I have to keep reminding myself that, at the office, she’s not just my little girl but my partner and though we may disagree at times, at the end of the day, it’s what’s best for the business and not personal.”

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? “Like anyone that works together, keeping work talk to a minimum ... what happens at the office, stays at the office!”

What have you learned from your daughter? “That staying true to your ethics is very important and that millennial’s CAN succeed (ha ha)!”

How are you celebrating Father’s Day this Year? “A lunch outing with my family.”

Name/age: Jennifer Schlumberger-Jones, 39 

Job title: Owner/CPA with Jennifer Schlumberger-Jones

What town do you live in? Crystal River.

What do you do at the business? Manage, taxes, financial statements, business consulting, financial advising.

How many years with the company? “My entire life, but I came to work full time in 2004, my last semester in college.”

Working together: How did it happen? “My parents worked together from the time they started the business in Pennsylvania so I grew up ‘working’ here. I used to sort checks for my mom’s bookkeeping accounts probably as far back as 8-10 years old.”

What's the best part of your dad/daughter work situation? “Each finding our niche areas and playing to those strengths. Feeling free to be honest and argue and still know at the end of the day that our relationship is more important than what we may disagree on.”

What's the most challenging aspect? “He’s my dad, I’m his little girl. Maintaining an adult, professional presence with him in tough situations and not falling into ‘daddy’s little girl’ mode. Staying in the role of partner and still (at the end of the day) separating business and our relationship can be difficult.”

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? “It makes for super boring conversations at the dinner table for the rest of our family. I try very hard to keep business and family separate. When I talk to dad about work, I try to make the conversation specifically about business. When we are home or out as a family usually just anecdotal stories and situations, nothing serious.”

What have you learned from your dad? “Everything. He has been my mentor in both tax preparation and in business in general. College got me only so far, he brought me the rest of the way.””

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? Going out to lunch and later this year a trip to a conference mixed with a little fun in Nashville.” 

 

Joe Meek and son jump page

Joe Meek III, left, the mayor of Crystal River, talks with father Joe Meek Jr. Thursday, June 17, at a construction site in Crystal River. The two work at Citrus Builders, a company Meek Jr. founded in 1981.

Name/age - Joe Meek Jr., 69

Job title - Owner of Citrus Builder 

What town do you live in? Relocating from Beverly Hills to Crystal River.

What do you do at the business? Manage operations.

How many years with the company? 20-plus. 

Working together: How did it happen? “My son Joe and his wife Amy moved back to Citrus to start their family, and we started Citrus Builder.” 

What's the best part of your dad/son work situation? “Daily interaction.”

What's the most challenging aspect? “For me, personally, there is no challenge. Keeping up with my son's two boys and his schedule.”

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? “We handle it fine. We're used to dealing with it.”

What have you learned from your son? “I have learned to be a good listener. My son has a terrific vision, tremendous enthusiasm and the energy to make it happen. So I have learned to watch!” 

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? “Being on the water.”

Name/age - Joe Meek III, 41

Job title - Three companies: Citrus Builder, Meek Real Estate, Meek Development. Also the mayor of Crystal River

What town do you live in? Crystal River. 

What do you do at the business? Owner, manage operations.

How many years with the company? 20. 

Working together: How did it happen? “Growing up, my father owned a custom-home building company. I have always loved the building and design process.”  

What's the best part of your dad/son work situation? “You get to do life together.”

What's the most challenging aspect? “I enjoy it all. We are fortunate that it comes natural to us.”

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? “We do a good job of keeping work and business in check, and we recognize what it is.” 

What have you learned from your dad?  “All aspects of our business and how to handle different situations.”

A-Able Septic

Bradley and Rick St. Clair of A-Able Septic Sewer Service, while at a trade convention in Indianapolis, got to go on the football field at the stadium where the Colts play. 

A-Able Septic Sewer Service

Name/age: Richard St. Clair, 66

Job title: A-Able president.

What town do you live in? Inverness.

What do you do at the business? "I share management duties with my son, Bradley."

How many years with the company? "I’ve owned it for 14 years."

Working together: How did it happen? "He followed me to work one day! It was only natural to have my son work with me in this business."

What's the best part of your dad/son work situation? "Knowing we are working side by side for a great cause."

What's the most challenging aspect? "I don’t see a challenge; I see it as a reward — Bradley has an amazing work ethic."

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? "It doesn’t. We leave work at work.'"

What have you learned from your son? "That we can work together and that watching the progression of your child grow is truly a blessing."

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? "We’ll be grilling, eating and enjoying our family."

Name/age: Bradley St. Clair, 34

Job title: A-Able vice president.

What town do you live in? "One street over from Dad in Inverness."

What do you do at the business? "I deal with all aspects of daily business ranging from truck driving to truck buying."

How many years with the company? 11.

Working together: How did it happen? "At the time Dad bought in to the company and needed truck drivers, I was going to (then) CFCC and didn't have a career path in mind yet. So, I went and got my commercial drivers license and have been there ever since."

What's the best part of your dad/son work situation? "Seeing my dad every day. I will be able to look back at this time and laugh at many moments for the rest of my life."

What's the most challenging aspect? "It would be dealing with ME. I’m 34, he’s 66; he’s laid back, takes things in stride. Me, not so much."

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? "I am lucky to consider my dad one of my best friends, so we have a great relationship outside of work."

What have you learned from your dad? "No matter the cost or consequences, be honest and treat people the way you want to be treated."

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? "Like we do every year — seeing my dad, eating something good and laughing."

Kovach Law Firm

Father and daughter attorneys at law: Mike Kovach and Ashley Bruner, who joined her dad's law firm as managing partner Jan. 4, 2021.

Kovach Law Firm

Name/age: Mike Kovach, 52

Job title: Attorney/founding partner

What town do you live in? Inverness.

What do you do at the business? "I handle wills, trusts and probate estates and real estate."

How many years with the company? 22.

Working together: How did it happen? "It was planned from the day Ashley said she wanted to be an attorney."

What's the best part of your dad/daughter work situation? "We are able to be around one another as family much more than we would otherwise get to. I’m also able to teach her my style, but at the same time allow her to be her own person and not be upset by that.

"I also admit if her way of doing something is better, which I’m sure she secretly cherishes!"

What's the most challenging aspect? "Honestly, because we get along so well, the most challenging part is not talking about personal matters during the workday."

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? "It has undoubtedly made our father/daughter bond even stronger."

What have you learned from your daughter? "No matter what it is, Ashley gets things done. So, even though I am still trying to put it into practice more often, I have learned to try and not procrastinate."

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? "We live in Florida, it’s June and school is out — the beach!"

Name/age: Ashley Bruner, 32

Job title: Attorney/managing partner

What town do you live in? Tampa.

What do you do at the business? "I zealously advocate and represent individuals in the areas of criminal defense and personal injury."

How many years with the company? "I partnered with my dad on Jan. 4, 2021."

Working together: How did it happen? "Becoming business partners with my dad was always our plan. After practicing for a few years gaining experience representing the accused and the injured in Tampa, I told my dad that I was ready to turn our plan into reality."

What's the best part of your dad/daughter work situation? "Living in Tampa, I didn’t get to see my dad as often as I would like. Now that we are business partners, I get to see him every day and learn to be a successful and incredible attorney like him so I can carry on the legacy of Kovach Law Firm."

What's the most challenging aspect? "Trying to focus on getting work done because we are so close that we always want to hang out in each other’s office and talk about life."

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? "It has brought us closer together."

What have you learned from your dad? "I’ve learned that I’m the equivalent of my dad, just with longer hair."

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? "We are taking our annual Father’s Day trip to Indian Rocks Beach for the weekend to spend quality time together with all my siblings while we relax at the beach and salute with our favorite bourbon to the incredible man my dad is. Having him as my dad, mentor, and now business partner, is the best gift God gave me."

Suncoast Plumbing

Suncoast Plumbing was first established in 1979 by Rick Workman. Now the business is owned by Rick's son, Todd, who is joined by his two sons. Pictured here, from left, are: Kyle Workman, who works the construction side of the business, Todd Workman and Brady Workman, who manages the service side. 

Suncoast Plumbing

Name/age: Todd Workman, 50

Job title: Suncoast Plumbing president

What town do you live in? Crystal River.

What do you do at the business? "I coordinate scheduling and also do all the underground piping for houses."

How many years with the company? 33. (Todd’s dad, Rick, started the company in 1979, and Todd worked at the business after school and on Saturdays. In 1989, he was the youngest person to get a Master Plumber's license in the state of Florida. He took over the business from his dad in 2000.)

Working together: How did it happen? "My sons grew up working with me and they both liked it. That’s good for us, because we have two completely different facets of the job, the construction side and the service side. One son really loves the construction and the other really loves the service side."

What's the best part of your dad/son work situation? "I get to see them all the time. Also, we think so much alike that we’re in sync with each other. There’s no yelling at each other. When they came to work with me, I said that we’re equals, and that’s the way I see them."

What's the most challenging aspect? "My challenge is not putting too much on them, not over-pressuring them. The older I get, the more I think about that."

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? "They’re so much like me that we find ourselves talking about work all the time. But it’s mutual."

What have you learned from your sons? "Patience. I’m not a patient person, and they’re both patient. Also, I’ve reached a point where my sons have surpassed me. I look at the work they do and think, 'That looks good — better than what I do.'”

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? "I’m going up to north Georgia to be with my dad and now that my sons are dads, they’re spending the day with their own families."

Name/age: Kyle Workman, 29

Job title: construction manager

What town do you live in? Beverly Hills.

What do you do at the business? "I take care of the bigger jobs, like bathroom remodels, etc."

How many years with the company? 11.

Working together: How did it happen? "I grew up here. It’s what I learned and it stuck with me, so now it’s what I do."

What's the best part of your dad/son work situation? "I like how it’s competitive. My dad’s really fast and I’m getting there, and it’s fun working with him. I want to be like him."

What's the most challenging aspect? "There’s really nothing challenging about working with my dad, but as for the job itself, working in the heat is difficult. You have to get used to it."

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? 'It doesn’t."

What have you learned from your dad? "How to do 'rough-ins' (a rough draft of plumbing installation), how to lay out the walls and be able to put the plumbing in the walls. I’ve also learned how to be a good dad. He’s a hard worker, always providing and likes to have fun."

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? "My wife will be working, so I’ll be at home with my kids, two boys who are almost 2 and almost 4."

Name/age: Brady Workman, 26

Job title: service manager

What town do you live in? Crystal River.

What do you do at the business? "I (manage) the service side of the business." 

How many years with the company? "Eight years full-time since graduating high school, but I’ve been doing this since I was around 13."

Working together: How did it happen? "I actually started with my grandpa."

What's the best part of your dad/son work situation? "Being able to learn the way my dad learned. My grandpa taught him everything and my dad taught us."

What's the most challenging aspect? "I think among the people working here there’s more expected out of me."

How does working together affect your relationship outside the workplace? 'It doesn’t affect it."

What have you learned from your dad? "Not everything gets handed to you. You have to work hard for what you have."

How are you celebrating Father's Day this year? "I have a 3-year-old boy, and I will be golfing with him and my wife." 

Contact Chronicle reporter Michael D. Bates at 352-563-3205 or mbates@chronicleonline.com. To see more of his stories, visit  tinyurl.com/y6kb23vv.