Friday, April 24, 2020

True meaning of the word service

Kevin J. Shelton, left, with his family.
By Kevin J. Shelton Growing up in the work zone. Yes, that is my story. You see, when I helped to start the company, C-Hawkk Construction Inc., I was only 19 years old. I remember opening my first set of plans and wondering, “Where do we start?”
Then my father made a statement to me, “Son, every sign that anyone will provide for this project will say the same thing, and what matters is the service that you provide behind that sign.” That has stuck with me for all of the 31 years of my career in traffic control.
I set out to try to give the best response and service that I could to that general contractor no matter the distance or time of day that a call would come into our office. I still to this day believe with everything in me how important that statement remains, but I must be honest as I write this blog about work zone safety. I believe I have learned that there are more important things that I must share.
You see as I was answering the phones and personally responding to all the calls for service and repairs, traffic switches and road closures, it became clearer to me than ever before that there are people depending upon what I do each and every day, and I am not just talking about the general contractor. Every person who drove through one of the work zones I have deployed is relying upon that work zone to get them home to their family. And then I realized that MY FAMILY was also relying upon me just as much to make it home.
Do I have personal accounts of close calls and near misses on the highway? YES I DO, and probably too many to list here. It doesn’t take too many drums knocked out of your hand while walking down the side of a roadway by a vehicle speeding by to get your attention or the sound of screeching tires on the pavement to absolutely scare you to death. That is when I decided to do everything that I could possibly do to train myself and those working with me better.
I searched for ways and ideas to make our company and employees safer from the very first day they began to work for us.  I learned through sharing those experiences of close calls and training through a great association I became involved with, ATSSA , the American Traffic Safety Services Association, which provides training, corroboration and ideas, that we could as a company do our job and do it safer.  Not only could we become safer as a company, but what we provided to the traveling public became safer as well. That is when I realized the true meaning of the word “SERVICE” that my father had been trying to teach me those many years ago. Thanks Dad!
Kevin J. Shelton is the owner/estimator of C-Hawkk Construction, Inc., in Eudora




  1. Thanks for your dedication to service -- all drivers going through work zones appreciate good signage to help them navigate through a potentially dangerous situation.

    But especially, thank you for your dedication to the safety awareness you instill in your employees. It takes constant vigilance when one is on a highway or city street. Thank you Kevin.

  2. Great read Kevin! Great tie-in to your family and the customers you serve. The KTA has always appreciated the job that you and your company does to help keep travelers on the turnpike safer. Thank you for taking the time to share your story, it was very touching. Take care, and be safe!

    David Jacobson
    Kansas turnpike Authority

  3. People do depend on you and it's important to make safety a priority in every work zone. Thank you for your service.

  4. You all do such a awesome job. I remember you and your dad getting those calls at 2:00am or 3:00am and immediately out the door to take care of the problem. Great job!!

  5. Thanks for posting. I am familiar with the company but it was interesting to hear the passion about safety that you bring to the work your company does. Traffic control is the first line of defense between the traffic and the construction and maintenance workers. Keep up the good work. I like to hear that you are always looking for ways to make work zones safer.

    Clay Adams